Representative George Santos, a New York Republican, attracted even more unwanted attention this week after he was heckled by Representatives Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Santos, who was arrested last week and indicted on 13 charges, was speaking to the press on Wednesday when Bowman and Ocasio-Cortez, both New York Democrats, started calling for him to resign.
Bowman shortly after was seen clashing with Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, who historically has shown support for Santos.
Afterward, a social media post claiming that Greene said she “never defended George Santos” was posted online.
A tweet by commentator MeidasTouch, posted on May 18, 2023, viewed 84,000 times, claimed that Marjorie Taylor Greene said she “never defended George Santos.”
The tweet included a video from a press conference during which Greene was asked: “Why did you feel the need to defend Congressman Santos when they were telling him to resign?”
Greene replied: “Well, first off, I never defended George Santos, I was not defending George Santos. What I was saying to the press there is that you should be at the White House asking those same questions.”
The video included a screengrab of a tweet by Greene in which she said “the left” has attacked Santos because he was “the first openly gay Republican,” and a photo of the pair laughing together.
MeidasTouch tweeted: “Marjorie Taylor Greene lies and claims she never defended George Santos.”
The clash between Bowman and Greene was broadcast across multiple news networks, the Georgia Republican later claiming that she felt threatened during the encounter.
Amateur and broadcast footage showed Greene, encouraging the impeachment of Biden and arguing for further security measures along the U.S.-Mexico border, while Bowman urged for Santos to be sacked.
It’s true that Greene has supported Santos in the past, as was evidenced by an accompanying screengrab that MeidasTouch provided in the tweet. However, @MeidasTouch tweet omitted several details that do not make clear the context of Greene’s claim that she “never defended Santos.”
The video in the tweet was from a press conference the day after her clash with Bowman regarding Greene’s newly introduced article of impeachment for President Joe Biden.
The full question posed to Greene (which was cut in the clip shared on Twitter) was: “Can you tell us about your clash with Congressman Bowman last night, why was there such frustration and why did you feel the need to defend Congressman Santos when they were telling him to resign?”
Greene’s reply was shared in the video posted by MeidasTouch. Clearly, the question and context here were about the encounter with Bowman, not about her history with Santos. However, that context was not included.
While MeidasTouch included a screengrab of a tweet from Greene in which she claimed “the left” was attacking Santos because he was “the first openly gay Republican,” that tweet was published in December 2022, months before Santos’ arrest and renewed resignation calls.
Further, Greene did not mention Santos at any point during her clash with Bowman.
Various footage of the argument between her and the New York congressman captured only parts of the conversation, some making it difficult to hear all of the remarks. The best available video of the encounter was posted on the streaming site Rumble.
At the beginning of the clip, Bowman says: “Marjorie, you gotta kick [Santos] out.”
Greene replied: “You gotta go to the White House, go and talk to your president.”
The confrontation continued for about another minute and at no point did Greene mention Santos. The only part of the audio which isn’t audible is when she says “Biden is embarrassing, you should [inaudible] him.”
Even though that moment can’t be heard clearly, the context makes it clear that she was not talking about Santos.
There is no other footage from interviews or otherwise before or after her argument with Bowman that Greene defended Santos elsewhere, either.
Although Greene previously showed solidarity with Santos, she does not appear to have made many, if any, recent comments.
GOP lawmakers defended the House vote on Wednesday to send an expulsion resolution for Santos to the bipartisan, 10-member House Ethics Committee, which has been investigating him for months.
Santos was hit with a 13-count indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York last week after facing months of scrutiny for lies he spread during his 2022 campaign.
Newsweek has reached out to a representative for Greene for comment.
The quote from Greene that she “never defended Santos” was taken from a press conference on Thursday and referred to a specific incident. The Georgia Republican had been asked why she defended George Santos the previous day during an argument with Jamaal Bowman.
Greene’s recollection is correct, as footage of the argument with Bowman shows.
However, MeidasTouch did not include this context. A tweet from Greene supporting Santos and a photo of the pair together, attached to MeidasTouch post, are not recent, either.
Although Greene has defended Santos amid previous calls for his resignation, the MeidasTouch tweet omits that her claim to have “never defended Santos” was in reference to her encounter with Bowman earlier this week.
FACT CHECK BY NEWSWEEK