Members of Congress join crowd outside Trump court hearing
Greene calls Trump ‘innocent,’ Bowman calls her remarks ‘nonsense’
Amid a chaotic scene of Donald Trump supporters, media and sign-toting protesters, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was one of several members of Congress who appeared in the crowd outside the Manhattan courthouse where the former president was set to be arraigned Tuesday.
In the hours before Trump was expected to face charges connected to an alleged hush money case, the Georgia Republican and outspoken supporter of Trump spoke briefly at an event put on by the New York Young Republican Club outside the courthouse.
Greene stood in a crush of people, many carrying cameras and microphones, mostly members of the media. She wielded a bullhorn, but the crowd still largely drowned her out with whistles and shouts.
“The government has been weaponized against him. I'm here to protest and use my voice to take a stand. Every American should take a stand,” Greene said, as heard on an RSBN livestream.
“This is what happens in communist countries, not the United States of America,” Greene said. “We have to take a stand against the injustice, the corruption and the communist Democrats [for] taking our legal code, twisting it, manipulating it and perverting it into something it was never meant to be. Donald J. Trump is innocent.”
Greene called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg a “tool for the Democrats” to hijack next year’s presidential election.
Bragg’s office has dismissed attacks that the investigation was politically motivated, calling them “unfounded allegations.”
As Greene got into a white SUV to leave the area, New York Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman addressed the crowd and the media and said: “Now let’s talk about the truth.”
“We will never accept hateful rhetoric in our city. Any rhetoric that is divisive, any rhetoric that uplifts white supremacy, we are pushing back against that in all its forms,” Bowman said.
Contending with shouts from the crowd, Bowman raised his voice as he spoke.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene, she should take her ass back to Washington and do something about gun violence, do something about affordable health care, do something about childhood poverty, do something about climate change. Do your freaking job Marjorie Taylor Greene,” Bowman said.
“You don’t need to be in New York City talking that nonsense. Go back to your district. What are you doing here?” Bowman said, noting reports that Greene could be under consideration as Trump's running mate if he wins thenomination. “You’re here for politics, you’re here because you want to be VP, you’re here for your own fundraising, you’re here for your nonsense.”
Embattled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., also spoke to reporters outside the Manhattan courthouse, but he apparently left before Greene spoke.
On several videos posted to Twitter, Santos said he was there to show support for the president amid a political prosecution and referred to Republican targeting of President Joe Biden’s son for investigations.
“Is this DA going to start criminalizing criminals? Where is Hunter Biden’s indictment after two years of a laptop full of a treasure trove of crime?” Santos said.
Surrounded by reporters and protesters outside the courthouse, Santos repeatedly asked for space from the group. “You’re swamping me,” Santos said at one point before leaving.
Some other New York Republicans stayed away from the courthouse. Rep. Brandon Williams planned to be in his central New York district, while Long Island-area Rep. Anthony D'Esposito planned meetings with constituents in his district, according to their spokespeople. Rep. Mike Lawler is away on a bipartisan congressional delegation trip to the Indo-Pacific.
The crowds formed in the hours before Trump’s afternoon arraignment and a press conference from prosecutors after the court appearance. Trump also plans a speech from his Florida residence later Tuesday.
Among the scene: A Trump impersonator riding in a limo and waving to the crowd, and a flag that said “Trump or Death.”
Mary Ellen McIntire contributed to this report.