Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said over the weekend that if she had led the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol that “we would have won” and that people would have been “armed.”
“I come to Washington, I swear in on January 3, I get accused of giving insurrection tours which I thought was hilarious because I couldn’t even find the bathroom in the Capitol. True story,” Greene, a Georgia Republican, said while speaking at an event by the New York Young Republican Club, according to video posted by the Twitter user @patriottakes. “Then January 6 happens, and next thing you know, I organized the whole thing along with Steve Bannon here. And I gotta tell you something: If Steve Bannon and I had organized that, we would have won. Not to mention, it would have been armed. Yeah. See, that’s the whole joke isn’t it?”
Greene continued, “They say that whole thing was planned and I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ A bunch of conservatives, Second Amendment supporters went in the Capitol without guns and they think we organized that? I don’t think so.”
In a statement to CNN on Monday, Greene said she was being sarcastic and, as she has done previously, denied any involvement in the January 6 riot.
“My comments were making fun of Joe Biden and the Democrats, who have continuously made me a political target since January 6th,” she said.
Greene, whose public image has been built largely on her willingness to make inflammatory statements and embrace fringe conspiracy theories, has previously tried to justify the deadly insurrection and downplayed it as “just a riot.” But many rioters who were at the US Capitol that day carried weapons such as bats and poles, and several carried guns, including one rioter who had two loaded handguns and was sentenced to five years in jail.
Greene’s latest comments are also notable given the prospect that she will return to committee assignments in the Republican-controlled House next year, and former President Donald Trump’s determination to make the ideologies behind the Capitol riot a central theme of his new presidential campaign.
But although she has tried to publicly downplay the deadly insurrection, text messages from her to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows obtained by CNN that were handed over to the January 6 committee show her pleading for Trump to stop the violence that day.
“Mark I was just told there is an active shooter on the first floor of the Capitol[.] Please tell the President to calm people[.] This isn’t the way to solve anything,” she texted.
The White House on Monday condemned Greene’s comments, calling it “violent rhetoric” and a “slap in the face” to law enforcement and families who lost loved ones defending the US Capitol that day.
“It goes against our fundamental values as a country for a Member of Congress to wish that the carnage of January 6th had been even worse, and to boast that she would have succeeded in an armed insurrection against the United States government,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement to CNN.
CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.