U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has accused U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick, a fellow Georgia Republican, of touching her in an aggressive and inappropriate way.
McCormick, the freshman lawmaker from Suwanee, insists the contact was a "friendly gesture" and that he meant no harm.
The exchange, first reported by CNN, is the latest example of the tensions within the House Republican caucus. It is also indicative of the simmering bad blood between Greene and McCormick after their competing efforts to censure Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan for inflammatory rhetoric about the Israel-Hamas war.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed much of CNN's reporting, which describes a recent interaction between the two Georgia lawmakers on the House floor. The altercation happened days after the House killed Greene's censure resolution and instead passed McCormick's effort to reprimand Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress.
The day of the incident, members were back on the House floor and McCormick told others he was trying to have a conversation with a Republican colleague from another state who had opposed his censure measure. That member refused to speak to him.
By coincidence, according to McCormick's telling, he noticed Greene, R-Rome, nearby. While touching her on her shoulders, McCormick commented about how, despite their own disagreement, he felt they still had an open line of communication.
Greene recoiled immediately and told McCormick she didn't appreciate him touching her, according to CNN. McCormick also said she pulled away and that he apologized and told Greene he didn't mean to offend her.
Greene later told House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., that McCormick approached her in a manner she saw as aggressive and threatening, according to CNN. Greene's office did not return requests for comment from the AJC.
Meanwhile, McCormick's office issued a statement that made clear he and Greene are steering clear of one another:
"I understand why there would be a lot of raw emotions following the censure vote given that her censure was tabled and mine passed," McCormick said. "My intention was to encourage her by making a friendly gesture. I said to her, 'At least we can have an honest discussion,' to which she said she did not appreciate that. For that I immediately apologized and have not spoken to her since."
This item was published in the Politically Georgia column, reported by Greg Bluestein, Tia Mitchell, Patricia Murphy and Adam Van Brimmer.