This article is part of the The DC Brief, TIME’s politics newsletter. Sign up Click hereSubscribe to receive stories like these delivered straight to your inbox each weekday
There’s a standing convention that actors typically don’t acknowledge their audience. It’s a stance designed to elevate realism, whether their observers are sitting in the velvet seats of the theater or lying in bed. Only occasionally does the wall between performer and spectator get pierced; Shakespeare did it masterfully to convey his character’s inner-most thoughts. For D.C. nerds, Take a look at these ideas Frank—and then Claire—Underwood on House of Cards, when they spoke directly to the camera and the audience streaming the ruthless power couple’s ambitions from their home couches.
Yesterday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene seemed to do her Underwoodery at the underground office complex that is connected to the U.S. Capitol. The Georgia Republican, whom we’ve All coveredPrevious for her visceralUnderstanding how to Capture Washington’s angst with her Trumpian antagonism, invited reporters to hear about her visit to the D.C. jail—a site similarly DueIts defiance of American norms is a cause for concern.
Greene’s report is perhaps the most official of the public reports from the government to detail the conditions at the notorious jail about two miles from the Capitol. It’s worth a full read Click here. This newsletter has been pretty clear in our frustration with how Greene has conducted herself in D.C., but she is absolutely right in her worry about what is happening to pretrial detainees in the capital of the world’s leading democracy.
“I would just like to ask all of you, as members of the press, to please read this report and share it with America. Freedom of the press, which you are so blessed with, is an amazing gift. Americans need to know,” Greene said. Then, signaling a rare moment of self-awareness that she had earned little credibility among the reporters assembled in the room since her arrival in Washington in January, she added, “Whatever your political bias is, I ask you to please overlook it.”
The direct-to-camera appeal carried a whiff of authenticity that is usually absent from Greene’s political performance art. In a flash, she was no longer the woman who appeared before her camera. FollowedParkland survivors shouted questions regarding false flags. ConfrontedDemocratic colleagues taunted one another about abortion, while she was filming for social media. The benches were These are some suggestionsThe Jewish Space Lasers are to Blame for Wildfires in Various Countries endorsementsQAnon nuttiness Make callsFor the deaths of Democratic officers that she has already seen marginalize in the House bootedFrom the committees.
Despite the fact that Greene’s interest to in the issue was sparked by the Jan. 6 would-be insurrectionists who have been detained in the D.C. jail, there was, for a fleeting moment, a sincerity in her concern over the conditions there, which has already drawn an admission from (at least some in) the city that it is ComingUp WegIt isn’t what we would expect. Her legitimate concerns were raised BewareAbout the prison that has already caused officials to PlanThe relocation of 400 prisoner to Pennsylvania in an effort to alleviate overcrowding, poor living conditions. As of yesterday, only 135 people had been released. Move even as the city’s chief of prisons insisted all was well.)
The goodwill was then blown away by Greene and her conspirators. The conspirators began to raise concerns about whether the FBI and other government agencies were in fact Responsiblefor the violence at Capitol which sought to overturn the 2020 Presidential election results. These men suggested that the Department of Justice was aiding them. ProtectThis truth is not to be believed and public defenders are trying to convince their clients of Critical Race Theory.
Rep. Paul Gosar, sharing the stage with Greene in the sub-basement of the Capitol, flagged the hypocrisy of some outside groups in worrying about the jail’s conditions. “The silence from the ACLU and Amnesty International is deafening,” Gosar said. And then he repeated the jarring victim-framing so popular on the far right, cAlling those held awaiting trial for their role in Jan. 6 “political prisoners.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz, who like the rest of the cohort is closely aligned with former President Trump, added his predictions of an aggressive regime of oversight, should the GOP claim a majority after next year’s elections. “We are going to take power after this next election and when we do it’s not going to be the days of Paul Ryan and Trey Gowdy and no real oversight and no real subpoenas,” Gaetz said. “It will be the days of Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene and Dr. Gosar and myself… doing everything we can to get answers to these questions.”
The group’s instinctive veer into the fringe steered the press event back into the land of conspiracy and partisan bluster, and unfortunately rendered it all too easy for the mainstream to continue to ignore the grave and real concerns about how allPrisoners in D.C.’s department of Corrections are currently being held.
Widely, the conditions in D.C. prison are considered unacceptable. The Department of Justice has confirmed the situation. It is now known as The SiteIt’s widely considered to be a human-rights catastrophe. There’s no denying that an inmate with recommended surgery, who was arrested after allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 riot, was held without treatment for months. Elsewhere, there are reports of inmates denied diet-compliant menus, access to lawyers and even basic dignities like haircuts, basic dignities that shouldn’t be difficult. And it’s been this way. For many years.
Jan. 6: Arrests for conduct TurnedThis is a serious issue. The majority of people who were arrested in January 6th were white. It demonstrates the ongoing racism Washingtonians face every day. Officials in Washington, D.C., disagree with this assessment. Hours after Greene led her press event, corrections officials offered reporters a tour of the jail—but let them see none of the occupied cells or interview any inmates. Look! You will find running water and an operating toilet. This was the best headline they had.
And that’s the problem with who fronts a campaign like this. Strategy teams often evaluate the legal merits of landmark cases before deciding on the PR potential of all parties. NAACP PassedClaudette Colvin was a Black teen that refused to leave her Montgomery, Ala. seat for nine months BeforeRosa Parks was the one who did it Similar, in order to find an adult who—in some estimations—presented a more sympathetic figure. When strategists set out to challenge California’s Prop 8 that banned same-sex marriage, the team purposefully found petitionersThey became celebrities on their own. The team behind Prop 8’s challenge quite literally cast their parties for what would be a well-received documentary.
That would never be the case with Greene and her allies, who truly live at the margins of the mainstream, even when they’re right. Greene, who is known for her extreme rhetoric and lack of seats in committees has zero chance of getting legislation passed. She could be an effective lawmaker and bring change to the D.C. jail if the aperture was kept small. She would need to keep the aperture narrow and trim her fringe so she can play to those in front of her, and not chase down the people laying on her balcony.
Washington is the place to be. Subscribe to the Daily D.C. Brief Newsletter