WASHINGTON — Congressional hearings are steadily acrimonious, however they hardly ever descend into the sort of private assault that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., waged towards lecturers’ union chief Randi Weingarten at a Home listening to final week on pandemic-related faculty closures, a problem that continues to excite sturdy passions.
These passions had been expressed in a “very homophobic” manner by the outspoken congresswoman, Weingarten advised Yahoo Information final Friday. The listening to had taken place two days earlier than, however she was nonetheless plainly rattled by the change.
In the course of the listening to, Greene repeatedly famous that Weingarten just isn’t a “biological mother,” a seeming reference to the truth that the 65-year-old American Federation of Academics president is married to a lady, Sharon Kleinbaum, a rabbi on the world’s largest LGBTQ synagogue. She sat behind Weingarten through the listening to.
“She was just attempting to dehumanize me,” Weingarten mentioned of Greene.
Weingarten advised Yahoo Information that she has been pressured to journey with a safety guard since November of final yr, when former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo known as her “the most dangerous person in the world.”
And she or he mentioned the change with Greene has resulted in a flood of “vile” emails, lots of them homophobic or antisemitic.
Weingarten was the only witness on the listening to, which was performed by a subcommittee of the Republican-controlled Home Oversight Committee that’s tasked with investigating the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, had opened the listening to by pleading with members of each events to deal with the subject at hand, which was whether or not the AFT unduly influenced Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention tips on faculty reopenings.
Emails beforehand made public confirmed Weingarten asking for amendments within the steering, a request the influential union chief mentioned was not out of bounds and one among many inputs that the CDC thought of.
Republicans disagreed, however none with extra vehemence than Greene, a hard-right congresswoman with a penchant for controversy.
Greene mentioned Weingarten mustn’t have had any say within the reopening tips as a result of she’s “not a medical doctor, not a biological mother and, really, not a teacher, either.”
Kleinbaum has two daughters from a earlier marriage, as Weingarten famous, however that didn’t seem to fulfill Greene, who has made gender and race points a centerpiece of her legislative profession.
“Let me tell you, I am a mother, and all three of my children were directly affected by the school closures — by your recommendations — which is something that you can’t understand,” Greene mentioned. (Her insistence on “biological” motherhood appeared to invalidate not solely the experiences of LGBTQ dad and mom but additionally of those that change into dad and mom by adoption or remarriage after divorce.)
“Somewhere, Ronald Reagan, an adoptive parent who gave conservatism a friendly face, is shaking his head,” former White Home speechwriter David Kusnet wrote on Twitter of Greene’s assertion.
The congresswoman’s workplace didn’t return a request for remark.
Greene additionally produced a chart displaying that diagnoses of gender dysphoria rose through the pandemic, a pattern she attributed to time spent on social media platforms.
“There is one thing I do agree with her about,” Weingarten mentioned on Friday, “which is that we need to do more to hold tech companies accountable, because the algorithms and these other things are actually making kids feel bad about themselves.”
Earlier this month, Home Republicans handed a invoice that may forestall transgender women from becoming a member of school-based sports activities groups designated for girls. Transgender rights have emerged as a prime tradition struggle problem for a lot of Republican voters.
As Greene’s interplay with Weingarten got here to an finish, the lawmaker returned to her declare that the union chief just isn’t a real mom. “People like you need to admit that you’re just a political activist, not a teacher, not a mother, not a medical doctor,” she mentioned on the conclusion of her diatribe.
Democrats unsuccessfully tried to have her assaults on Weingarten stricken from the Congressional Report, however Wenstrup mentioned Home guidelines wouldn’t allow him to take action.