Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was one of the warm-up acts for former President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in her state over the weekend.
Which leads me to this line from the Georgia congresswoman:
“We’re gonna drill oil right here in the USA. And you know what, Pete Buttigieg can take his electric vehicles and his bicycles, and he and his husband can stay out of our girls’ bathrooms.”
Which, wow. That’s a lot.
Let’s deconstruct what Greene is trying to say.
1. Pete Buttigieg loves electric vehicles and bicycles. (Probably worth noting here that Buttigieg is the Secretary of Transportation, not the Secretary of Energy.) It is true that Buttigieg has been an advocate for electric cars – consistent with President Joe Biden’s push on that front.
2. Pete Buttigieg is gay. Also, true! Buttigieg and his husband Chasten were married in 2018.
3. Pete Buttigieg and his husband are trying to get into women’s bathrooms. That’s, um, not true – although I suspect what Greene is referencing is the debate about what bathrooms people who are transgender should use. Neither Buttigieg nor his husband are transgender.
So in the course of two sentences, Greene goes from drilling for oil in America to keeping transgender people out of bathrooms. And it makes zero sense.
But Greene’s goal isn’t really to make sense. It’s to stoke outrage – via several not-so-veiled flicks at intolerance.
See, Greene knows that some (most?) members of her audience aren’t fans of same-sex marriage. Or homosexuality more generally. So while Buttigieg’s sexuality has literally zero to do with his stance on electric vehicles, Greene makes sure her audience knows that he is gay.
And then she seems to conflate homosexuality with being transgender. All Greene is doing here is throwing out loaded buzzwords to her base. She’s rallying the Trump crowd with dog whistles of intolerance that seek to make their political opponents some sort of alien other.
What Greene is really saying is that Democrats aren’t just different when it comes to their politics, but in their values too. She’s doing that by a word salad of coded language aimed at stoking the fears and resentments of the crowd. And unfortunately, it works.