Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz made an appearance in Dalton, Georgia on their third stop of their America First Rally Tour.
DALTON, Ga. (CN) — Saying she received a $500 and a $2,500 fine for failing to wear a mask on the House floor, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene told her supporters Thursday night she would not pay them.
The Republican representative from northwest Georgia said she would be making a stand for schoolchildren, who she believes should not have to wear masks while learning or competing in sports.
“I won’t be wearing my mask any more on the House Floor,” Greene said. “I don’t care how many letters and fines they tell me they’re going to give me.”
Greene leaned into the controversy that has garnered her attention in recent days while speaking to about 700 of her supporters at the Dalton Convention Center, which sits in her district, in the third stop of her nation-wide America First tour intended to rally support behind her and Congressman Matt Gaetz.
Having spent only a few months in Washington, Greene has become a controversial name on Capitol Hill by attempting to start rivalries with Democratic lawmakers and entertaining conspiracies.
Greene’s most recent comments come as she faced criticism from fellow lawmakers earlier in the week after she compared mask wearing with the Holocaust.
In a tweet Tuesday, Green said people who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 face discrimination from mask mandates and vaccine passports. Invoking the murder of 6 million Jews, Greene wrote, “Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.”
Criticism from GOP leadership in Congress came soon after. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Greene’s statements were “outrageous and reprehensible” while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, said Greene’s comparison of mask wearing to the Holocaust was “appalling.”
Allison Padilla-Goodman, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s southern division, said Greene’s comments came when the group has seen a spike in anti-Semitic incident.
“We’re angry, we’re tired of them,” Padilla-Goodman said of Greene’s comments. “There’s no place for Holocaust analogies in talking about a public health measure.”
During her comments, for instance, Greene incorrectly said athletes wearing masks could face oxygen deprivation, an allegation the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says only traps droplets.
The event was put on by the Put America First Joint Fundraising Committee, formed by Gaetz and Greene. Its statement of organization filed about a month ago, the committee has not reported any numbers yet to the Federal Elections Commission.
Gaetz, who is reportedly facing a federal investigation into whether he paid underage girls for sex, said while he and Greene, who was stripped of her committee assignments, lack conventional power on Capitol Hill, they have a different kind of influence.
“We have a power that they can never take away and it is directly tied to fighting for you, advancing your interest,” Gaetz said, who took the stage to the theme song of the sitcom The Golden Girls.
Saying former President Donald Trump is the head of the modern Republican Party, Gaetz said it’s a movement that believes in the abolition of critical race theory from the nation and the insanity of lockdowns.
“We’re not going back to the days of Bushes, McCains and Romneys,” Gaetz said.
This event is the third that Gaetz and Green have put on. Previously, the two have appeared on stages in Florida and Arizona.
Greene entered the venue driving an off-road vehicle with her campaign sign in its bed and AC-DC’s “Thunderstruck” shaking the risers where television cameras stood. It was her birthday, and attendees sang to her before she began speaking.
Pointing out the media in the back, she said they would ask questions of her North Georgia residents because they don’t understand them.
Greene began to ask questions of the crowd: Do you think the election was stolen?
“Yeah!” the crowd said.
“How do you feel about January 6?”
“Do you support Marjorie Taylor Greene and her comments?”
The crowd cheered.
“You see, I’m one of the people,” Greene said. “I’m not a politician. And the whole reason they don’t understand me is because I go to Washington and I walk in Congress and I walk up and I say exactly what we all say at the dinner table every single night.”
Jason Jones, a retiree, doesn’t live in Greene’s district but traveled from his home in Georgia to see her. Jones sees Greene as one of the lawmakers leading a grassroots takeover of the Republican Party, he said, and the primary issues are corruption and voting integrity.
And while Greene may not have the negotiation skills that Trump has, Jones said, she is still a leader.
“We need people who have courage, who are willing to take the slings and arrows.”