Rep. Jasmine Crockett Says She's Ready For 'Hand-To-Hand Combat All The Time'

WASHINGTON — The confrontation between Reps. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) at a House oversight committee hearing Thursday may have been inevitable.

Since arriving in Congress in 2023, Crockett has been one of the committee’s most vocal Democrats. And Greene has been Greene, offering her trademark stream of inflammatory behavior, including a “fake eyelashes” jab at Crockett last week, to which the Democrat responded with her now-infamous clapback about Greene’s “bleach-blond, bad-built, butch body.”

For Democrats, especially newer members of the House oversight committee, Thursday’s hearing seems to have vindicated their strategy of aggressively mocking Republicans. Greene went personal, Crockett responded, and the chaos overshadowed the GOP-led committee’s push for criminal contempt charges against the U.S. attorney general, with even House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) shaking his head at the proceedings. It was just the latest episode of what some have termed “failure theater” for House oversight committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.).

“It is a committee where you got to stay on top of your toes and be ready for some nonsense,” Crockett told HuffPost. “I didn’t think that I’d have to be ready for being attacked for my lashes in committee, but it is that type of committee where it is hand-to-hand combat all the time.”

The daily combat is a strategy, Crockett said. “We always look at it like we’re the truth-tellers, and we’re on the front lines of democracy because these are the people, they spread all the misinformation and disinformation and the Russian propaganda,” she said.

Republicans have run the House for the past 17 months by lurching from one personality-based conflict to another, and they’re growing tired of Greene. Their collective shrug after Crockett’s dig at Greene shows how they’ve lost their appetite for governing through beefs.

Crockett showed an early willingness to fight on Greene’s terms last year. In March 2023, she and Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), another outspoken first-term Democrat on the oversight committee, joined a Greene-led delegation to the D.C. Jail, where Republicans decried the supposed mistreatment of Donald Trump supporters locked up for rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

It’s hard to argue with criticism of the D.C. Jail, a facility that has occasionally lacked working doors and functional air conditioning, and where inmates sometimes die. But Crockett and Garcia emerged from their tour noting that Jan. 6 defendants had their own unit away from the general population — and more.

“They have their own cells, they have access to laptops and tablets,” Crockett, a former public defender and defense attorney, told reporters outside the jail. “Coming out of Texas, I have seen so much worse.”

A reporter asked why Democrats would even lend their credibility to the visit. “I mean, there had to be somebody that was going to be willing to tell the truth,” Crockett said. And she seems to have had the last word: The oversight committee hasn’t held a hearing or taken any other public action on the issue since members visited the facility last year.

Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on March 20, 2024, in Washington.
Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on March 20, 2024, in Washington. Win McNamee via Getty Images

Since Thursday, Crockett has reveled in praise for her counterattack on Greene, aggregating various tribute songs on her social media feed and brushing off criticism that she, like the Georgian, had issued a degrading personal attack. She says she only went there after Comer made it clear that Greene would face no consequences for commenting on Crockett’s appearance.

“I did not respond in kind immediately,” Crockett said. “I actually sat there and attempted to allow the process to work.”

Greene, an exercise enthusiast, may have been offended.

“I think my body’s pretty good, and I’m going to be 50 this month,” she said later in the hearing. She has tried to show that she’s taking the remark in stride, and that she doesn’t mind being “built and strong.”

Crockett has confronted other Republicans, including Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), after Mace claimed that the president’s son Hunter Biden had flexed his “white privilege” by blowing off a committee hearing in January.

“It was a spit in the face, at least of mine as a Black woman, for you to talk about what white privilege looks like,” Crockett said in a clippable C-SPAN moment.

In February, during a break in a closed-door interview conducted as part of the impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, Crockett’s Democratic colleagues noted that the witness, a former associate of Hunter Biden’s named Tony Bobulinski, had been oddly boisterous, repeatedly suggesting that other witnesses were liars.

Crockett put it more simply: “He is completely wacky, OK?”

The impeachment inquiry has largely petered out, with Republicans failing to deliver credible evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden — though Greene did find multiple occasions during public committee meetings to display photos of the president’s son apparently engaged in sex acts with prostitutes.

Thursday’s committee meeting, which saw the verbal wrangling between Greene and Crockett, was tangentially related to the impeachment inquiry — Comer had called the meeting so the committee could approve a contempt citation against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for refusing to hand over recordings of Joe Biden’s interview with former special counsel Robert Hur. The Justice Department already gave Congress the interview transcript, but Comer has claimed that the audio is needed to make sure the president’s friends in the supposed deep state didn’t edit the text to hide his alleged corruption.

It’s not clear when the full House will vote on the Garland contempt resolution, though Johnson said it would happen “soon” and likely pass. But the speaker said last week’s contempt markup was a bad look for Congress.

“Decorum is an important principle to maintain,” Johnson told reporters Friday. “We’re going to continue to try to advance that principle and we need people on both sides of the aisle to just, I think, just take the emotion out of it. We can have vigorous debate; that’s what this institution is built upon. But, you know, we have to treat one another with dignity and respect.”