At CPAC, devoted conservative base cheers on Marjorie Taylor Greene

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Shortly after U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wrapped up her speech, which mostly focused on attacking medical treatments for transgender youth, she made her way down media row at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

A horde of fans begging for photos and journalists with cameras and microphones shouting questions crowded around her. While there were other high-profile Republicans around at the same time, including Donald Trump Jr. and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, none drew quite the spectacle that Greene did.

“She is a rock star,” Melissa Cornwell exclaimed to her CPAC crew, all of them donned in red sequin jackets that said “Proud Texan” on the back and yellow T-shirts that when they all stood together spelled out “Trump.”

Cornwell said she came to CPAC this year to hear from former President Donald Trump, who will deliver the closing speech Saturday. But she was also glad to hear from Greene, whose speech Cornwell described as “right on point.” Cornwell said Greene has what it takes to be president one day or perhaps Trump’s vice president if he wins in 2024.

“Her beliefs are solid,” Cornwell said. “That’s what America needs to get back on track to protect our youth and support our Constitution.”

Melissa Cornwell, left, and others wearing the same "Proud Texan" jacket, listen to U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene as she is interviewed at CPAC.

Credit: Tia Mitchell

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Credit: Tia Mitchell

Greene, who is in her second term in Congress representing a deeply conservative northwest Georgia district, has made a name for herself among conservative audiences such as the ones found at CPAC. She received a 10-minute speaking slot Friday morning and delivered a speech focused on the battle over transgender rights, with her opposition to further U.S. support of Ukraine in its war with Russia sprinkled in.

“I don’t know about you, but when it comes to kids, I think the Republican Party has a duty — we have a responsibility — and that is to be the party that protects children,” she said, drawing one of several standing ovations.

Both issues, Greene said, circle back to her core values of honoring Christian principles and protecting youth. Her critics say she is spouting a brand of Christian nationalism that undermines democracy and is at its core homophobic and transphobic, but those aren’t the people who would be found at CPAC.

Catholic University student James Ong was among those stretching their necks for a glimpse of Greene after her speech. He said he had agreed with most of what she said, especially regarding the “culture wars” and conservative values. Ong also believes that Ukraine should not get a blank check from the U.S., although he disagrees with Greene’s implication that America should withdraw completely from any involvement in the war.

Even so, Ong said Greene was one of the people he was most excited to see at CPAC this year. Of all the conservative stars on the agenda besides Trump, she was at the top of his list.

“We have Republicans who want to stick with the establishment, but with her, she’s a fighter,” Ong said. “She actually stands for the people of Georgia, and she puts American values first. So that’s why I wanted to get a glimpse of her.”

Ong, who was wearing a red Trump hat, followed the scrum around Greene until she stopped for an interview. There were cheers of “MTG!” as she settled into her chair. When she was wrapping up there, a reporter asked her to elaborate on her position regarding U.S. involvement in Ukraine.

“Ask all these people, do we support a war in Ukraine?” she responded with a gesture toward the fans nearby.

They backed her up, yelling, “No!”