Rep. Steve Cohen and former Congressional member Paul Hodes talked with former Hill staffer Matt Robison about how Marge Greene made a fool of herself at the military balloon briefing.
PAUL HODES: Today we’re gonna find out the skinny on what’s really going on behind the scenes in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Representative Cohen, my friend, Congressman Steve, it seems like the upshot of the McCarthy deal that he made with the Freedom Caucus is that the lunatics are truly gonna be running the asylum. Is that what it feels like? What moments stand out to you that an outsider wouldn’t see that you’ve gotten to see?
STEVE COHEN: I went to a classified briefing last morning, I believe it was, and it was on the balloon, the first balloon. There was a good crowd there and there were six or seven administrative leaders of the general in charge and, uh, either deputies or leaders of the security agencies. And they made a nice presentation on how we were concerned about collateral damage to people.
If we shot the balloon down over the United States, three buses, 200. If it’s shot down, will it hit people you don’t want, have to die, et cetera, et cetera. And they explained it well. At the end, there were only about 10 of us left in the room and Marjorie Taylor Green got up and had her chance to speak.
And she got up and she, it was unbelievable. I mean, I waited to see her cause I knew it’d be a shit show. And she got up and she says, “I’m just gonna speak to you like the average American. I’m gonna let you know what I think like the average American would like to do it. Do you embarrass the president of the United States?
“You left this balloon fly over the United States,” but there was no press in there and she went, “We didn’t know what was in that balloon. It could have been nuclear material. It could have been radiation. We didn’t know what was in that balloon and you let it fly over our country for eight days.
“That was just shit. It was bullshit and I don’t believe anything you’re telling us and you’re giving us a bunch of, of we think and we might this and that.” Then she finished her diatribe and there was nobody there to listen to about 10. And, and then the, one of the fellows up on the panel, I was proud of him.
“He started speaking and responding to her and she interrupted him and he jumped right in. He said, ‘Ma’am, I didn’t interrupt you and I appreciate your not interrupting me.’ And she shut up. But she’s unbelievable. She made a fool of herself. She made a total absolute fool of herself. Didn’t know what she was talking about, and it. Typical of her, you know, Jewish space, lasers and all that kind of stuff, , and that’s what we.
PAUL HODES: On the other day, we should have used the Jewish space lasers on that balloon.
MATT ROBISON: Or maybe, maybe that’s what she’s saying. We didn’t know. There could have been nuclear material, right? There could have been. There could have been Covid, there could have been Jews up there. How do we know that it wasn’t Jews in the Chinese balloon?
We should get to the bottom of that.
STEVE COHEN: You know, oh, you’re right, please. No, I was just gonna say, she’s just off. The other day in my city, we suffered a terrible police murder of a young man who was never had a arrest of any kind. The best of my knowledge, a traffic violation — named Tyree Nichols.
He was killed by five Memphis police officers. And it’s been a very much of a national story and a terrible story, and one day recently, I understand Marjorie Taylor Greene compared Tyree Nichols killing to Ashley Babbit’s. Oh, and I just got so angry, I thought, ‘How can you do that?’
“Wow. The officer who shot Ashley Babbitt in the speaker’s lobby of the United States Capitol was protecting United States government officials from insurrectionists who came in with anger and had been shouted at. Some of em have been shouting, ‘Hang Mike Pence’ and ‘Where’s Nancy Pelosi?’ and all that stuff.
“He was defending us and gave her warnings, signals to stop, and she didn’t, and Tyre Nichols did nothing and got the hell beat outta him and he was killed. But that’s the mentality. We’ve got Marjorie Taylor Greene.”
MATT ROBISON: “One of the things that we don’t see the members of the general public. is what’s going on the floor of the House of Representatives and the dynamics there.
“There’s a lot that you pick up when you’re there on the scene that C-Span just doesn’t capture, and I’m wondering what is that vibe like? The Republicans had this massive messy warfare breakout in the speaker race. Is it weird? Are there groups clustering together? Is Marjorie Taylor Green? Is she sidelined? Do people think that she’s a total nutball and they steer clear ’cause she might attack them? What are you picking up from that vibe?
STEVE COHEN: I don’t think they do. For one thing, Marjorie Taylor Green has gotten herself in with McCarthy, and McCarthy’s accepted her as an ally.
He’s got a strange family coalition, but she’s part of it and she stood by him and he’s standing by her and standing by the rest of ’em. And Marjorie Taylor Greene is really out there.
She’s Mondo Bizarro, but compared to George Santos, she’s normalcy. She’s just plain, common, boring, historical. Congressperson George Santos is really the worst. And then we’ve learned about this new woman named Anna Luna, oh, yes. Florida. And she’s another wacko.
PAUL HODES: We saw Mitt Romney at the State of the Union, go after George Santos and called, and had a conversation. Santos went back at him basically saying, you’re a dinosaur.
Is Santos isolated? Is he weirder than the rest of them? What’s it like being in a room with him?
STEVE COHEN: Walked in to vote on the Republican side, which sometimes I do. I come from Raven and I came in on the Republican side out of the speaker’s lobby. I cast my vote in the machine and then I walked and there he was.
It was like, Liberty Valance was coming at me and and I just looked at him and I thought, he’s here. He’s really here. And so I turned to my left to avoid bumping into him, and I think he turned to his right.
So we were still on. Course that would cause us damage. And so if I moved to got around him, I didn’t want to see, I kept my eyes away from him. I didn’t wanna run into him, I didn’t wanna talk to him.
MATT ROBISON: You didn’t congratulate him on his recent Olympic gold medal.
STEVE COHEN: I did. He just lies every day. But as when I see him on the floor from a distance and I saw him at the distance on the state of the Union, he hangs with Massey, who’s a smart guy from Kentucky, but a right wing Freedom Caucus guy. And I’ve seen him around Gates and around my friend Tim Burchart, who I like, but he votes terrible.
And he’s out there on the right wing and sits with Lauren Boebert and that crowd. But that’s the crowd he’s associated with. He associates with the crazies on that side. He voted for McCarthy consistently on the 15 rounds.
But he did that to protect his flank. So McCarthy would keep him in Congress, which he has, and not try to expel him. But no, he’s not spoken on the floor that I know of. I don’t know if he’s resigned from his committees or taken a leave of absence. So he hasn’t spoken in anywhere except with the press. But he’s a sick human being. He does not belong in Congress.
MATT ROBISON: The Washington Post had this article that Paul sent to me this morning about how there’s this whole crop of Republican and Democratic freshmen who are all hellbent on, they’re gonna work together, they’re having productive policy conversations.
We’re gonna have lots of new legislation. Congressman Cohen. How would you grade the likelihood of some of this bearing fruit? Is there actually a prospect of some of this new blood infusing, some bipartisan progress in this Congress, or is this about to come crashing down and they just haven’t realized it yet.
STEVE COHEN: It’s more likely that I win the MVP in the Super Bowl next year. And that Paul Hodes comes down in a thong from the sky at the halftime show with his guitar. Oh my God.
PAUL HODES: There you go. I read an article before the show from Slate talking about your chairman Jim Jordan at his first hearing basically saying, ‘Hey, this is a crusade against the Biden administration.’
He’s got some other kinds of crazy issues from his background and in, back home. He’s the guy running the Judiciary Committee.
PAUL HODES: So what’s it mean? How are you gonna work on that committee? And I’m curious what’s the Dem strategy and are there any issues that you think you might be able to work with this guy on? Or is it all just a show? A show for the next two years?
Steve Cohen: It’s gonna be a shit show for the next two years. It’s now called the Constitution, probably with a small ‘c.’
There’s more, take a listen to Steve Cohen’s take on the new Congress.