In November 2023, the @AccountableGOP X account reshared an old post with a video that featured then-U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. The video was recorded on Sept. 19, 2022. In the clip, Cheney had delivered remarks in front of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, in which she claimed that on Jan. 6, 2021, just prior to the start of the U.S. Capitol insurrection carried out by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, an unnamed House GOP colleague referred to Trump as "the Orange Jesus."
More than one year after Cheney's remarks, on Nov. 28, 2023, the name of the colleague she claims made the "Orange Jesus" remark was revealed by CNN, which was said to have received an early copy of Cheney's upcoming book, "Oath and Honor." According to CNN, Cheney claimed in her book that that colleague was none other than U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn.
According to Liz Cheney, it was Rep. Mark Green who said, “The things we do for the Orange Jesus” as he signed his name to the electoral vote objection sheets on January 6. https://t.co/Bb4HZn4qc9
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) November 28, 2023
Was this true? Did Green refer to Trump as "the Orange Jesus"?
Conservative political commentator Todd Starnes reported on Nov. 29 that Green himself said he denied having made the "Orange Jesus" comment. Starnes published that Green had told him (or another person associated with Starnes), "I heard the statement. We were in a crowded room, but it wasn’t me."
By email, Snopes reached out to Green's office seeking confirmation of the response published by Starnes. Instead, we received the following statement attributed to a "spokesman from Rep. Green's office":
Liz Cheney’s accusation is false. She and her publishers would know this had they reached out to Rep. Green or his office. There was a large crowd in the cloak room that day and Congressman Green unequivocally denies making this comment.
We continued our correspondence with Green's spokesperson, asking, "Referencing Starnes' claim, additionally, in the case that the phrase truly was spoken by someone in the room, is Rep. Green able to provide the name of that representative?"
In response, the spokesperson told us, "I haven’t spoken to him about this, but I know he will not do so."
Cheney's Story About 'Orange Jesus'
In the September 2022 video, Cheney described what she claimed that she heard but did not mention Green by name. Our transcription of the clip is below:
In the cloakroom on Jan. 6, before the attack happened, I was in the Republican cloakroom. I was working on my remarks, because I was supposed to speak that day. And there were sheets of paper laid out on the desks. And I asked one of the staffers in the cloakroom, "What are these sheets of paper?," because members were coming in and signing them. And this person said to me, "Well, those are the objections sheets," because, you know, it's only actually required that one House member object, but there were so many who wanted to show they were objecting that they had set up these signup sheets in the cloakroom. And as I was sitting there, a member came in and he signed his name on each one of the state's sheets. And then he said under his breath, "The things we do for the Orange Jesus." And, I thought, you know, you're taking an act that is unconstitutional.
CNN's Paraphrase of the Story in Cheney's Book
The CNN article from Nov. 28 basically told the same story that Cheney did in the September 2022 video. However, again, it was in her book that Green's name was mentioned for the first time:
On Jan. 6, before the attack on the Capitol, Cheney describes a scene in the GOP cloakroom, where members were encouraged to sign their names on electoral vote objection sheets, lined up on a table, one for each of the states Republicans were contesting. Cheney writes most members knew “it was a farce” and “another public display of fealty to Donald Trump.”
“Among them was Republican Congressman Mark Green of Tennessee,” Cheney writes. “As he moved down the line, signing his name to the pieces of paper, Green said sheepishly to no one in particular, ‘The things we do for the Orange Jesus.’”
CNN also printed the same statement that Snopes received that was attributed to a "spokesman for Green’s office," which, again, called Cheney's claim "false."
In "he said, she said" cases like this one where there is no available audio or video to confirm whether or not Green or another representative made the remark in question, we simply do not have enough evidence to make a firm determination of whether or not it truly occurred. In cases like these, we apply a rating of Unproven. This rating does not mean that the rumor is true or false. Rather, it simply indicates that the available evidence was insufficient.