It's rare for a member of the House of Representatives to become well-known nationally, especially someone in only their second term. But Marjorie Taylor Greene – MTG – is as famous as they get. She's gained her national celebrity, some say notoriety, with a sharp tongue and some pretty radical views like her proposal for a national divorce where red and blue states would go their separate ways.
But, she has managed in just two years in Congress to accumulate real power, landing on important committees, and influencing the direction of Republican policies. Before Congress, she helped run the family construction company in Georgia -- known to be smart and fearless and has a history of believing in conspiracy theories.
We interviewed her earlier this week before.
Lesley Stahl: We looked up some words that have been said about you.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: OK.
Lesley Stahl: Crazy, Q-clown, Looney Tune, unhinged, moron. Pretty ugly stuff.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Looks like the average troll in my Twitter feed, so I don't really care.
Lesley Stahl: You're used to it?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: I don't let name calling bother me or offend me. I just don't.
Lesley Stahl: How much have you styled yourself after Donald Trump?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Hmm.
Lesley Stahl: People say that you are Trump in high heels.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: I didn't intentionally style myself after President Trump, but I can see how people draw those similarities. We both come from the same industry: construction. I also have pretty much a plain-speaking style and so does he.
Lesley Stahl: But also he's often in attack mode. And you appear to be.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Yeah. I think, but I think our government deserves it. They don't really deserve to be respected that much.
Including, for her, the president.
While many consider Marjorie Taylor Greene's behavior outlandish, even thuggish, MAGA activists and right-wing media eat it up.
In just two years, Greene, at age 48, has moved from the fringe of the party to the front row-–
--without changing either her style or her views.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: On an issue, when I'm outspoken about it, and I take my stand or my position, the first reaction is, 'Marjorie's crazy. Marjorie's extreme. Marjorie's a right wing extremist.' And then what will happen is my colleagues will go back home to their district, and their own constituents are coming up and saying, 'Are you supporting Marjorie? Do you agree with Marjorie? Have you cosponsored Marjorie's bill?' And then they find out, 'Oh, maybe she's not crazy.' And then they end up agreeing with me.
This is fueling her clout in the Republican Party, as is her record as a top fundraiser and a close adviser to Kevin McCarthy.
After MTG helped him win the speakership, he rewarded her with: House Oversight that's investigating the Biden family business dealings, and Homeland Security.
Now, what she thinks about the issues matters - like preventing the government from going into default by raising the debt ceiling.
Lesley Stahl: Janet Yellen, the Treasury secretary, says that if we don't raise the debt ceiling that this country will be thrown into an economic and financial catastrophe and so I'm asking you if you're willing to risk that?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: You know what put us in an economic catastrophe is, again, the people that have spent $31 trillion that forced this situation to happen.
Lesley Stahl: Well, wait a minute. Trump is as much responsible--
Marjorie Taylor Greene: I said everybody.
Lesley Stahl: For that as--
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Everybody.
Lesley Stahl: --All right.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Republicans, Democrats.
Lesley Stahl: OK.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: It was all before I got here.
Lesley Stahl: Would you be willing to vote for compromise? In other words, raise some taxes?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: I don't think we have a revenue problem in Washington. We have a spending problem.
Lesley Stahl: You know something? That's glib. That's glib. That, what does that mean? The two sides have to come together and hammer it out.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Cut spending.
Lesley Stahl: Both sides.
Marjorie Taylor Green: Both sides need to cut spending.
Lesley Stahl: Where do you want to cut it?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: COVID bailout money and a lot of green energy spending.
Lesley Stahl: But are you willing to let us go into default?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: No. I've always said I wouldn't do that.
Lesley Stahl: So, would you compromise?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: It depends.
Lesley Stahl: On taxes?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: No. I'm not raising taxes.
Greene complains that the news media harp on things she did in the past, like, as in this video,of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.
And things she says that are over the top, like —
Lesley Stahl: The Democrats are a party of pedophiles.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: I would definitely say so. They support grooming children.
Lesley Stahl: They are not pedophiles. Why would you say that?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Democrats, Democrats support, even Joe Biden, the president himself, supports children being sexualized and having transgender surgeries. Sexualizing children is what pedophiles do to children.
Lesley Stahl: Wow. OK. But my question really is, can't you fight for what you believe in without all that name-calling and without the personal attacks?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Well, I would ask the same question to the other side, because all they've done is call me names and insult me non-stop since I've been here, Lesley. They call me racist. They call me sen, anti-Semitic, which is not true. I'm not calling anyone names. I'm calling out the truth basically-
Lesley Stahl: Pedophile?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Pedophi-- call it what it is.
She also still calls the 2020 election stolen as she made clear in February.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: I come home as often as I can when we're not in session.
Born and raised in Georgia, she now lives in an upscale section of her home district in the northwest corner of the state.
Lesley Stahl: How many acres do you have?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: I have 10 acres.
Her net worth is estimated at $11 million. But she says, when she was a child, her parents struggled financially trying to start their construction company. She told us that her dad, an arch-conservative, listened to right-wing talk radio all day long.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: And naturally, me being with my parents a lot, I, I listened, as well.
Lesley Stahl: Your dad knew you as a politician. What did he think of your style, your pitbullness?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: He was very proud of me.
Lesley Stahl: Your mother, did she ever say, 'Marjorie, you need to tone it down?'
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Yeah, she did, actually. She's a Southern mom, and she believes in manners.
She says her combative style came later in her life, after she graduated from the University of Georgia...
Marjorie Taylor Greene: This is our family photo.
…and had three children with her now ex-husband.
She worked for the family construction business, that she and her then-husband bought from her dad and grew into a lucrative enterprise.
Lesley Stahl: What are you up to now?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: This is 205.
Lesley Stahl: Oh my God.
Greene didn't discover her brazen gutsiness, she says, till after 2011 when she got hooked on CrossFit workouts. She got into the extreme exercising with a passion, ending up in competitions, gaining self-confidence. She opened her own gym with a business partner. But, at age 43, she sold her stake and turned to politics in 2019.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: What made me run for Congress when I saw the Republicans in Congress, the House and the Senate, completely fail to deliver the agenda that we had all voted for, the reasons why we voted for Donald Trump. It was the Ameri--
Lesley Stahl: The Republicans?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Yep.
Not Joe Biden, not Nancy Pelosi. but the traditional Republicans who, she says, failed to rein in federal spending, repeal Obamacare, or fund President Trump's border wall when Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: They failed us.
Lesley Stahl: Like who?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham. Those, yeah, those types of Re-- Mitt Romney. I'm not even sure why he calls himself a Republican.
Lesley Stahl: Why don't you blame Donald Trump?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Well, I blame— I blame all of them for a lot of things but again-–
Lesley Stahl: But not him.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Well, the president doesn't control everything.
Most of her constituents in her conservative, largely white, working-class district agree with her on the issues, and especially like the way she fights for her beliefs.
Woman: I'm a New York transplant to Georgia and I just love you.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Well welcome to freedom! Nice to meet you.
Shortly after she arrived in Washington, the Democratic-led housebecause of her past endorsement of violence against some Democratic leaders and her history of embracing QAnon that she explained in a speech on the House floor.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Well, I apologized to my colleagues. I think apologies are important.
Lesley Stahl: Okay, did you ever apologize to Nancy Pelosi about the bullet to her head?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: I didn't say that, so I don't need to apologize for words that weren't mine--
Lesley Stahl: Well, you-- didn't you like it?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Other people also ran my social media. I don't think I did that.
Lesley Stahl: Are you saying that you don't stand by what's on your social media?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Well, of course I stand for what's on my social media. But at times not-- you're not always in control. We have all kinds of people that work on our social media.
Lesley Stahl: Did you apologize for your position on Parkland, Florida?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: What was my position on Parkland, Florida?
Lesley Stahl: That it was a false flag—
Marjorie Taylor Greene: I don't know if you actually have my-- No, I never said Parkland was a false flag. No, I've never said that. School shootings are horrible. I don't think it's anything to joke about.
Lesley Stahl: We fact-checked before I got to this interview. That's what--
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Have you fact-checked all my statements from kindergarten through 12th grade? And in college? And as I've paid my taxes, and never broken a law, And the only-- I got a few speeding tickets. Do we need to talk about those too?
Lesley Stahl: Well—
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Because I think where you're going down is the same attacks that people have attacked me with over and over and over.
Lesley Stahl: Well, if this is what you're 'known for,' I think it's good that you're responding to the charges. I think--
Marjorie Taylor Greene: I think being— because— people--
Lesley Stahl: I think it's a legitimate thing for us to do.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: -constantly focus on it, but never focus on anything good about me.
Lesley Stahl: Let me button this up and we'll move on. You want to bring the Republican Party closer to your views. You want to bring the country closer to your views. You've said that.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Mmhmm.
Lesley Stahl: Okay. Here are some of the things you've said: that America should have a Christian government, that abortion should be banned nationally. That you wanna defund the FBI. Yes? You want immigration to stop for four years. You've said those things, correct?
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Yeah, these are– these are some of my views.
Lesley Stahl: The Constitution, the very First Amendment, prohibits having a religion in the government.
Marjorie Taylor Greene: Yet, the Founding Fathers quoted the Bible constantly and were driven by their faith.
As a fervent supporter of the now-indicted Donald Trump, she was a featured speaker at his rally in Waco last weekend. While she's adored here, the latest national poll has her approval rating at just 29%.
Donald Trump (at Waco rally): Marjorie Taylor Greene, you happened to be here. Would you like to run for the Senate? I will fight like hell for you, I'll tell ya.
The question for her, and the country, is can she expand her brash MTG brand beyond the right wing, populist base?
Produced by Richard Bonin. Associate producer, Mirella Brussani. Associate producer, Wren Woodson. Edited by Richard Buddenhagen.
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