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Defiant Greene attacks media, dodges questions on past remarks

A day after the House voted to remove her from committees for her previous promotion of conspiracy theories, a defiant Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida QAnon site shutters after reports identifying developer Republicans head to runoff in GA-14 MORE attacked the media and repeatedly refused to address her past endorsements of violence against Democrats.

In a remarkable press conference just outside the Capitol, the newly arrived Georgia Republican acknowledged that her past embrace of certain conspiracy theories — including claims that several school shooting massacres were staged to advance gun reform laws — was “wrong and offensive.” 

But when asked if she still stands by remarks accusing Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats debate timing and wisdom of reparations vote Biden angers Democrats by keeping Trump-era refugee cap Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones calls on Breyer to retire MORE (D-Calif.) of treason, which she said at the time is a “crime punishable by death,” Greene interjected and asked the reporter, “How many stories did you report on Russian collusion conspiracy lies?”

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“You owe the people an apology,” Greene told the reporter. “You lied about President TrumpDonald TrumpDC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is Biden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' Taylor Greene defends 'America First' effort, pushes back on critics MORE.”

And when another reporter asked later if Greene still stood by a comment she liked on Facebook saying that "a bullet to the head would be quicker" to remove Pelosi, Greene took a similar tack.

“You know, here's the thing. When you want to keep telling the same story over and over but you don't want to tell the truth, that's your problem,” Greene said, and then swiftly ended the press conference.

The controversy swirling around Greene has come at a volatile time for Republicans on Capitol Hill and across the country.

With former President Trump defeated and banished from Twitter, his voice has been muted. But he still maintains enormous influence over Republican voters, which almost certainly played a major factor in the decision of GOP leaders not to punish Greene themselves. And Greene declared Friday that Trump’s grip on the GOP is absolute. 

“The party is his,” she said. “It does not belong to anyone else.”

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The House voted mostly along party lines on Thursday to remove Greene from the Education and Labor and Budget committees, with 11 Republicans joining all Democrats.

Greene singled out those GOP lawmakers.

“People are very angry. That's all I've heard from people all morning, furious about that. So I hope that my Republican colleagues really think about what they've done,” Greene said.

The press conference appeared to be an effort by Greene to soften her image after weeks of scrutiny for past comments endorsing violence, racist messages and debunked conspiracy theories, including QAnon. 

After initially offering an olive branch to the reporters on hand — "I truly support freedom of press," she said — she quickly shifted to attacking the media in a distinctly Trumpian fashion. And in a strategy similar to Trump, Greene talked over reporters who asked questions she didn’t want to answer directly.

“You know what the media does? And you guys are great at it — and I'm telling you this because I want to like you — but you're doing a really good job at addicting our nation to hate,” Greene told the dozens of assembled journalists outside the Capitol.

Democrats have for weeks alleged that Greene is the one guilty of promoting hate. And on Thursday they approved a reprimand, removing Greene from the Budget and Education panels — an extraordinary step in a chamber where party leaders have historically been given free rein to dictate their committee assignments without interference from across the aisle. 

Before Thursday’s vote, Greene had gone to the floor in her own defense, saying she was misled into believing online conspiracies that had no merit. 

She clarified in her Thursday speech that she believes 9/11 and school shootings “absolutely” happened, after previously questioning the reality of the events. And she acknowledged that she initially came to believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory in 2017 but stopped in 2018 after finding “misinformation.”

But similar to Friday’s press conference, Greene declined to specifically address her past comments appearing to endorse violence against prominent Democrats.

“I'm sorry for saying all those things that are wrong and offensive. And I sincerely mean that. And I'm happy to say that. I think it's good to say when we've done something wrong, so yeah. That's easy for me,” she said Friday.

But Greene made no apologies for confronting David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, arguing that he was a legal adult at the time she tailed him on Capitol Hill.

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In video of the incident, Greene asked Hogg, “how did you get kids?” and questioned why the Parkland activists were using children to advance their cause. And after he walked away, Greene called him a “coward.”

“David Hogg was an adult when I talked to him. I don't think any of you have realized that,” Greene said. “I'm not sorry for telling him he shouldn't push for gun control.”

She pointed to a 1990 incident at her school in Georgia where a fellow student took hostages, saying that she understands Hogg’s experience of school violence. 

“I want you to know I know that fear that David Hogg felt. It's terrifying. It's terrifying when the only person in the building with a gun is very upset and is there to do evil, and there's no good guy with any guns to protect us,” Greene said.

At times, Greene appeared to contradict herself. She lamented, for instance, that Democrats, by removing her from the Budget and Education committees, had “stripped [her] district of their voice.” A moment later she said the move has “freed” her to fight harder for the conservative values her voters sent her to champion. 

“If I was on a committee, I'd be wasting my time because my conservative values wouldn't be heard, and neither would my district's,” she said. “Now I have a lot of free time on my hands, which means I can talk to a whole lot more people all over this country.” 

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Greene also went on the attack against progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBiden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' A proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US Biden angers Democrats by keeping Trump-era refugee cap MORE (D-N.Y.), although she acknowledged she hasn’t had a chance to meet her colleague yet.

“I was in the chamber, unlike AOC, Representative Ocasio-Cortez that faked her outrage with another hoax, just another hoax that gets shared everywhere,” Greene said.

Ocasio-Cortez said earlier this week that she initially thought a rioter had broken into her congressional office on Jan. 6 and feared for her life as she hid in a bathroom. But Ocasio-Cortez later realized the person in her office was a Capitol Police officer, who told her to go to another office building.

Back in September, Greene posted an image of herself on Facebook holding a gun next to photos of Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarBiden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' McCarthy: GOP not the party of 'nativist dog whistles' White House reverses course on refugee cap after Democratic eruption MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMcCarthy: GOP not the party of 'nativist dog whistles' Pro-Trump lawmakers form caucus promoting 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' Omar: 'Shameful' Biden reneging on refugee promise MORE (D-Mich.) captioned “Squad’s Worst Nightmare.” Facebook ultimately removed the image for violating its policies.