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Heckler Marjorie Taylor Greene’s complaint about “yelling” during State of the Union badly backfires

Salon 2/8/2023 Igor Derysh

Marjorie Taylor GreeneJIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images © Provided by Salon Marjorie Taylor GreeneJIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., repeatedly heckled President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address on Tuesday — and then complained that it was hard to understand because he was "yelling."

"Liar!" Greene, donned in a white fur coat that drew comparisons to cartoon villain Cruella de Vil, shouted at Biden after he called out a Republican proposal to sunset Medicare and Social Security.

"Anyone who doubts me, contact my office ... I'll give you a copy of the proposal," Biden shot back as he battled Republican hecklers throughout the night.

Greene, who repeatedly stood and shouted throughout the speech, later posted a video on social media complaining that Biden was "yelling" during the address.

"I just got back to my office after listening to the State of the Union with Joe Biden" she said. "Part of the time we couldn't really understand what he was saying because he was yelling at people—yelling through the applause, and mumbling through his words."

But Greene's antics appear to have backfired as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., repeatedly visibly shushed her throughout the speech.

Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., called for the House Republicans to "censure" Greene for her behavior at the speech.

"My fellow Republicans… you really want this as a role model for your kids?  Do you really think the next generation will want to be part of this?  I don't," he wrote on Twitter.

"Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn't know the difference between the State of the Union Address and the Rocky Horror Picture Show," tweeted Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who sits on the House Oversight Committee with Greene. "She just showed everyone how ridiculous MAGA is. And why did she keep yelling 'liar' at George Santos? That wasn't nice," he quipped.

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"It's amazing how far our politics have fallen. When Joe Wilson shouted at Obama 'You lie!' in 2009, the House passed a resolution of disapproval and it was a huge deal," wrote The Daily Beast's Matt Fuller. "Tonight, a bunch of Republicans were yelling at Biden. MTG called him a 'Liar!' It won't even register."

Greene and other Republicans were particularly incensed when Biden called out the GOP proposal to sunset Social Security and Medicare amid wider Republican calls to reform the programs as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a catastrophic default.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who has called to end the programs entirely, was caught on camera feigning shock at Biden's comments.

Biden acknowledged while sparring with the hecklers that it was "not a majority" of Republicans who support such a plan and probably not "even a significant" portion of the party.

"Then don't say it," a Republican shouted.

"I enjoy conversion," Biden quipped.

Biden was referring to a plan proposed by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the former head of the National Republican Senate Committee. The plan does not explicitly call to end Social Security and Medicare but calls to "sunset" all federal programs after five years.

Though Republicans fumed at Biden for his description of the plan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., characterized it in a similar way when he denounced Scott's plan last year.

"We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half of the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years," the Republican leader told reporters last spring.

But Biden turned the raucous moment into a rare show of bipartisanship as he appeared to goad the GOP away from targeting Social Security and Medicare in debt ceiling negotiations.

"Social Security and Medicare is off the books! We got unanimity!" Biden said after the hecklers died down.

"So tonight, let's all agree — and apparently we are — and stand up for seniors," Biden said, as both sides of the chamber stood and applauded. "Stand up and show them! We will not cut Social Security! We will not cut Medicare! Those benefits belong to the American people. They earned it. ... If anyone tries to cut Medicare, I'll stop them. I'll veto it ... But apparently it's not going to be a problem."

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