Marianna Pecora, an 18-year-old activist with the group Voters for Tomorrow, claims that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) kicked her outside the Capitol on Thursday afternoon as several members of the Gen-Z group pressed the congresswoman about gun violence.
Nick Dyer, a spokesman for Greene who was by her side Thursday, told Pecora, “You can’t block members of Congress.” Later in the day, Dyer disputed the accounts, saying, “There’s literally nothing on video to suggest that Congresswoman Greene did anything.”
Videos posted to Twitter by Greene and the activist group Voters of Tomorrow show Greene leaving a news conference while being questioned by activists about gun violence. Members of the group pepper her with questions as Greene tries to walk from an area outside the Capitol and across Independence Avenue. Pecora walks ahead of the congresswoman and then to the side while recording.
“Excuse me,” Greene says while at first appearing to step on Pecora’s foot.
“Excuse me,” Greene says again, after the two became entangled for a second time.
“Oh my God,” Pecora is seen saying in the videos.
Pecora said in the interview Friday that she was walking with the “speed of the group, if not faster. I was trying to get out of the way. … Honestly, everything happened kind of quickly.”
“She sort of kicked the back of my foot, but I think I have a little scuff but nothing serious,” she added.
Videos showed Greene tripping and then getting entangled with Pecora as the group moves forward.
Jack Lobel, deputy communications director for the group, said Friday that they were “talking to our legal team. We’re keeping our options open. Obviously, it’s very inappropriate for anyone to engage in violence, and that does not stop at members of Congress.”
These foolish cowards want the government to take away guns & the rights of parents to defend their children in schools.— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) September 15, 2022
You have to be an idiot to think gun control will create a utopian society where criminals disarm themselves and obey the law.
“Gun-free” zones kill people. pic.twitter.com/1T37HH8jEO
The incident occurred after the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus, of which Greene is a member, held a news conference to discuss a government funding bill being debated in the Senate.
As the legislators left the event, Santiago Mayer, the 20-year-old founder of Voters of Tomorrow, approached Greene and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), another member of the caucus, asking to take a photo and claiming to be a “big fan,” a Washington Post reporter at the event observed.
But both members quickly recognized Mayer as an activist. Boebert pushed Mayer’s smartphone away and quickly exited. Greene instead engaged with the group of activists — and accused Mayer of abusing children.
Mayer told The Post that the accusation came after he asked her whether she had a plan to protect children from school shootings.
“You’re helping kids get shot in school,” Mayer said to Greene.
The lawmaker, who has been critical of gun-control regulations to prohibit firearms in certain public places, responded by saying he should just “move to another country.”
“I asked her if her official stance as a member of Congress was that I should just move to another country if I didn’t want kids to get shot,” Mayer said.
He said Greene refused to answer that query. That’s when Pecora stepped in, and the videos appear to show the incident taking a physical turn. The congresswoman, Mayer said, also called the group of activists “cowards.”
Mayer, who is a Mexican immigrant, said he does not know if his slight accent tipped off Greene, leading to her suggestion that he move to another country. After the incident, however, Greene targeted Mayer and his nationality on Twitter, calling him a “paid political activist, who just so happens to be blessed to have immigrated to our great country.”
“He should respect and be grateful for American freedoms, like our 2A, instead of trying to destroy them,” she said. “If he doesn’t like it, he can go back.”
Mayer is a grass-roots organizer who founded Voters of Tomorrow at age 17 to encourage his American peers to vote and be more civically engaged. He said he, Pecora and other members of the group were at the Capitol on Thursday to “talk to members of Congress about what Gen Z’s priorities are.” They had just left a meeting with the House Rules Committee when they ran into the Freedom Caucus.
Greene has a history of heated confrontations around the Capitol.
In 2019, before she was elected to Congress, she harassed David Hogg, a then-teenage gun-control activist and survivor of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, while he walked the grounds to meet with legislators.
Greene followed Hogg for several blocks while repeating falsehoods about the events at his high school, where 17 people were killed in the 2018 attack. As Hogg crossed a street, Greene turns toward another person filming the encounter and called Hogg “a coward.”
In 2021, Greene accosted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in a Capitol hallway and accused her of supporting “terrorists.” Two Post journalists witnessed the interaction, which led Ocasio-Cortez to call on congressional leadership to review its security posture to protect elected officials.
“You don’t care about the American people,” Greene shouted. “Why do you support terrorists and antifa?”
Ocasio-Cortez did not stop to answer Greene, only turning around once and throwing her hands in the air in an exasperated motion.
House Democrats have chastised Greene for her behavior, and voted in 2021 to strip her of committee assignments.
Marianna Sotomayor contributed to this report.