Critics hoping to keep Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene off the ballot for her role in inciting the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol are asking a judge to consider a newly released text message she wrote about former President Donald Trump declaring “Marshall” law to remain in office.
Backed by the group Free Speech for People, four residents of the first-term Republican’s district are asking an administrative law judge to rule her ineligible for reelection because the 14th Amendment prohibits insurrectionists from holding office.
“In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall [sic] law,” Greene wrote in the Jan. 17, 2021, message to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, apparently misspelling the term “martial law.”
“I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him,” her text message continued. “They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!”
The text was among 2,300 messages that Meadows turned over to the House committee investigating the Capitol riot that were subsequently released to CNN on Monday. They detail the various ways Meadows was helping Trump overturn his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
Greene testified for three hours last week at a hearing in Atlanta where she repeated Trump’s lies about the 2020 election being stolen through massive voter fraud. She denied having advocated violence, despite social media video evidence to the contrary, and said she did not “recall” having pushed for martial law.
In a court filing Wednesday, lawyers wrote that the new text message undermined Greene’s credibility.
“Greene’s testimony at the hearing that she could not remember discussing martial law with anyone was already dubious. This text with President Trump’s Chief of Staff makes her testimony even more incredible because it seems like the kind of message with the kind of recipient that a reasonable person testifying truthfully would remember,” the lawyers wrote.
“Eleven days after the failed insurrection, Greene was still fighting against the peaceful transfer of power by advocating extra-legal means. This text, like her statements on January 5, shows the lengths to which she was willing to go to help Mr. Trump remain in power,” they added.
Greene’s lawyer, James Bopp, said the new text doesn’t prove anything and actually shows that Green was distancing herself from the idea of martial law. “It’s not related at all to the case. It’s completely innocuous,” he said.
The Georgia Republican is among a handful of members of Congress that Free Speech for People is trying to have removed from election ballots, a strategy the group intends to deploy against Trump, should he run in 2024 to get his old office back.
A section of the 14th Amendment states that no one who has previously sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution but who then takes part in an insurrection can subsequently hold office.
The judge in the case, Charles Beaudrot, is likely to rule next week. The Georgia primary election, in which Greene faces opposition, will be held May 24.
Despite losing the election by 7 million votes nationally and 306-232 in the Electoral College, Trump became the first president in more than two centuries of elections to refuse to hand over power peacefully. His incitement of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol — his last-ditch attempt to remain in office ― killed five, including one police officer, injured another 140 officers and preceded four police suicides.
Nevertheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly speaking about running for the presidency again in 2024.