American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten has fired back at Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene for launching a “vile” and “homophobic” attack on her status as a stepmom.
During a hearing of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Wednesday, Greene said that Weingarten was “not a mother” while questioning her qualifications. The AFT president said she was “a mother by marriage,” while pointing out that her wife was with her at the hearing.
The congresswoman said “I see” after Weingarten explained her status, before going to argue that she did not have a valid claim to motherhood because she was not “a biological mother.”
During an MSNBC interview on Friday, Weingarten, who said that she had been “attacked and villainized” throughout her career “for just trying to stand up for people,” denounced Greene for launching what she called a “pathetic” attack intended to “undermine” families and LGBTQ+ people.
“What she did, it’s just this dehumanization that you see autocrats do, and you see people who don’t want to solve problems do,” Weingarten said. “What’s unfortunate is that it’s so venal and so mean … I can take it, I’m a public figure.”
“It’s just a matter of the undermining of people—the undermining of trans kids, the undermining of the other,” she continued. “I felt like I was taking one for the team. But the vile, homophobic nature of it was pathetic. And the undermining of families was pathetic.”
Greene’s comments on Weingarten’s status as a mother prompted some pushback during the subcommittee hearing and an avalanche of outrage afterward.
Representative Robert Garcia, a California Democrat, said that Greene’s remarks were “unacceptable” during the hearing, while thanking Weingarten for being “a great parent” and telling her, “you are a mother.”
Democratic Representative Maxwell Frost of Florida also lashed out at Greene during a House hearing on Friday, while calling out Republicans for failing to condemn her remarks.
“I rise today as a proud adoptee,” said Frost. “A son with two loving parents who provided me with all the love and support a child could ask for. But yet, I heard in this chamber, a few days ago, someone saying my parents aren’t real parents.”
“Let me be clear—I am their child, they are my parents,” he added. “For bigoted, close-minded reasons, certain folks have decided that people who adopt their children are lesser than.”
Fellow adoptee Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee who endorsed President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, denounced Greene’s remarks while appearing during the same MSNBC segment as Weingarten on Friday.
“Women and men come into parenting in a whole lot of different ways,” said Steele. “It just struck such a raw nerve for me, to think that a Marjorie Taylor Greene could look at my mother and say she’s not a mother?
“Well, you need to shut the you know what up and step back, because motherhood is something that comes from the heart,” he continued.
Greene has previously claimed that adoptive parents are not “real” parents. Following last year’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Georgia Republican said that “traditional family values are being destroyed” due to the notion that “fake” parents are equivalent to “the biological mom and biological dad.”
Newsweek has reached out via email to the office of Greene for comment.