Democrats in the House chamber burst into raucous laughter when Marjorie Taylor Greene called for “decorum”.
The far-right Georgia Republican, controversialist and conspiracy theorist was presiding over the House on Wednesday as Steve Scalise, the Republican majority leader, was speaking.
Scalise was discussing the debt ceiling standoff between House Republicans and the Biden White House.
He said: “We are in fact the only body in this town who has actually taken steps to address the debt ceiling and the spending problem in Washington.”
An unseen lawmaker yelled something. From the dais, Greene pounded her gavel and called for order.
Scalise asked: “I ask that the House be in order and there be some decorum on the other side.”
After a pause, Greene pounded her gavel and said: “The members are reminded to abide by decorum of the House.”
The chamber erupted in laughter and catcalls. Greene banged her gavel repeatedly. Eventually, Scalise returned to his remarks.
House Democrats erupt in raucous laughter after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was presiding over the chamber, tells them to “abide by the decorum of the House.” pic.twitter.com/vHDG0ScW2F
— The Recount (@therecount) May 24, 2023
Greene has risen to power in Republican ranks by courting controversy and confrontation. She has voiced antisemitic conspiracy theories, called mass shootings false flag attacks and spoken at events staged by white supremacists.
In 2021, citing such behaviour, Democrats stripped Greene of committee assignments. Those assignments were restored after Republicans took the House last year.
In Joe Biden’s last two appearances in the House chamber for the State of the Union address, Greene has made headlines by standing to catcall, jeer and boo. Last year she and Lauren Boebert of Colorado heckled the president. This year, Greene shouted that he was a “liar”.
Greene has harassed political opponents, including the New York Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and young gun control activists.
Just last week, Greene made headlines with an angry confrontation with Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat, then claiming being called a white supremacist was as bad as being called the N-word.
Bowman accused Greene of an “utter and blatant lie” in the “long tradition … of Black men who are passionate, outspoken, or who stand their ground, being characterised as ‘threatening’ or ‘intimidating’”.
Greene did not immediately comment on the laughter in the House chamber on Wednesday. Many Democrats did.
Jared Huffman, from California, said: “Irony died today on the House Floor, but comedy triumphed as the GOP chose MTG as their keeper of ‘decorum’.”
Another Californian, Jimmy Gomez, tried a couple of jokes, saying Greene calling for decorum was “like Leonardo DiCaprio telling people to date people their own age” or, in reference to another controversial Republican, “like George Santos telling people not to lie”.
Matt Royer, chief of staff at Young Democrats of America, drew a comparison to the more unruly House of Commons in the UK.
“This is some parliament-type behavior as Democrats laugh off MTG’s plea for decorum in the House,” he said. “And I am absolutely here for it.”