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A verbal spat between Reps. Crockett and Greene highlights racial and gender tensions

Then-Texas state Rep. Jasmine Crockett is joined by Democratic lawmakers during a news conference on July 23, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Crockett, now a member of Congress, got into a verbal spat with Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene at a committee hearing last week.
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Then-Texas state Rep. Jasmine Crockett is joined by Democratic lawmakers during a news conference on July 23, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Crockett, now a member of Congress, got into a verbal spat with Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene at a committee hearing last week.

During a routine House Oversight Committee meeting on whether to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress, the controversial far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene attacked the physical appearance of a fellow congresswoman.

Speaking to Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, the Georgia Republican suggested that Crockett’s “fake eyelashes” were getting in the way of her reading and understanding the point of last week's hearing.

In response, Crockett called out Greene for having a “bleach-blonde, bad-built, butch body.”

The exchange quickly went viral across social media, with many relishing in the entertainment value of seeing the two lawmakers in a verbal spat, almost more akin to something usually seen on reality television.

Crockett has leaned into the virality of the moment. She filed to trademark the “B6” phrase and announced a “Crockett Clapback Collection” line of merchandise to benefit House Democrats.

Greene, meanwhile, has defended her physique, boasting of an active, healthy lifestyle.

Amid the jokes, memes, and even parodysongs about the congressional fight, were conversations about race, gender and stereotypes.

Crockett called the comments about her lashes racist, noting that Black women’s appearances are often critiqued — whether it be for their natural appearances or for style choices that are often made to better appeal to European beauty standards.

The immediate backlash within the halls of Congress to Crockett’s remarks, as opposed to the general silence from Republicans on Greene’s comments on Crockett’s appearance, has also come under fire.

Many have noted the fact that there were immediate calls for Crockett to soften her tone after having been attacked, versus the tacit acceptance of Green’s comments on Crockett.

During the raucous hearing, Crockett was repeatedly told by Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., to “calm down,” and was told she was “out of control,” despite Greene having been the one to instigate the back-and-forth on appearances.

On the other hand, some have accused Crockett of employing transphobic language for her use of the word “butch” in her response to Greene.

Crockett said she "meant no harm to anyone in the [LGBTQ] community."

She wrote on X — formerly Twitter — she always has "and always will stand 10 toes down with the community."

Copyright 2024 NPR

Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.