In Iowa, Marjorie Taylor Greene Tests Her National Appeal

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., does a pull-up at a U.S. Marine recruiting booth during a visit to the Iowa… (Charlie Neibergall / The Associated Press)

DES MOINES, Iowa. — She rattled off pullups at the Iowa State Fair, trailed by a pack of reporters and onlookers. She dodged questions about her political future. And she railed against government restrictions at a town hall, promising the crowd of hundreds a return trip was on the books.

In short, Georgia U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s debut political trip to Iowa was much like the visits of other national Republican figures. Only Greene is trying to build her nationwide profile as a first-term lawmaker whose far-right views and past beliefs in the QAnon conspiracy theory has made her a pariah to many.

The Republican’s visit Thursday to the state fair — long a rite of passage for politicos jockeying for higher office — was quite a spectacle.

She spoke with Iowans, listened to explanations about tractors and glided down the “Giant Slide,” a staple of the event. She drew protesters, including one who wore a derisive mask who was taken away by security officials. And she attracted a curious crowd of Iowans confused and bemused by the politician at the center of so much attention.

“Who is she?” one teenager asked, pulling out his smartphone to Google the Georgian, just as Greene completed eight pull-ups at a booth promoting the U.S. Marines.

Greene, who represents northwest Georgia, was stripped of committee assignments shortly after taking office, for her history of bigoted comments and promotion of violent conspiracy theories. But she’s also a popular figure to some conservatives who praise her attacks on Democrats and fellow Republicans, as well as her unflinching loyalty to former President Donald Trump.

Among them was Brei Johnson, a member of an anti-vaccination online group, who immediately greeted Greene as she visited the state GOP booth. Johnson told the Georgian that she was an inspiration to her daughters.

“She definitely has a strong voice in D.C., and I would champion a lot of her policies and get behind her for sure,” said Johnson.

In remarks to the media, Greene insisted that her constituents in northwest Georgia “absolutely” support her nationwide travel, which has also included recent stops in other Republican-controlled states.

“My district supports me big time,” Greene said of the territory, which was drawn by lawmakers to be a safely conservative House district. “The Democrats wish they could beat me, but they just can’t.”

Aware her visit stoked speculation of a run for higher office, Greene didn’t specify her future plans. Instead, she said her “sole purpose is putting America first” and promoting Trump’s return to the White House in 2024.

“We’re taking our America first message across the country because we have to do everything we can to take our country back,” Greene said.

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