Fact Check

Did McCarthy 'Shush' Marjorie Taylor Greene Multiple Times During 2023 SOTU?

Speaker McCarthy can be seen attempting to quell heckles from the GOP caucus at least three times during Biden's 2023 State of the Union address.

Published Feb 8, 2023

 (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Image Via Win McNamee/Getty Images
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Claim:
U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy signaled to GOP hecklers including, on multiple occasions, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, to be quiet during the 2023 State of the Union address.
Context

McCarthy appeared to signal members of his own caucus at least three times to refrain from heckling President Joe Biden during his 2023 State of the Union address. In most if not all of those cases, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was involved in the heckling.

On Feb. 7, 2023, U.S. President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress. Prior to the speech, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and other Republican leaders assured reporters that the Republican caucus would be civil. 

These assurances did not stop some members of the GOP from interrupting Biden during his address. In response to these interruptions, McCarthy — seated behind the president — appeared to "shush" the hecklers more than once. Based on the direction of the apparent shushing, McCarthy was signaling members of his own caucus to be quiet. 

biden state of the union speech 2023

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Tweets mentioning at least three such instances went viral following the speech, and each appeared to involve, at least in part, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.

The first instance occurred during an exchange over Biden's assertion that some members of the GOP had advocated for "sunsetting" Social Security and Medicare. CBS Evening News Anchor Norah O'Donnell tweeted that "Marjorie Taylor Greene stood up and called him a liar. Speaker McCarthy shushed his caucus from the podium."

The tweet shows an unedited portion of the speech, which begins at 1:05:57 in the official C-SPAN feed. 

The second instance occurred during a portion of the speech regarding China-U.S. relations. Several media outlets reported that Greene yelled "China is spying on us!" A tweet by the twitter account PatriotTakes showing this portion of the speech, among others, went viral. 

That tweet showed an unedited portion of the speech, beginning at 1:33:04 in the official C-SPAN feed. McCarthy, in response, appeared to signal in the direction of the GOP caucus.

The third shushing occurred during a portion of Biden's speech about fentanyl overdoses in America. It involved, at minimum, two members of the GOP caucus: Greene and Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn. 

Greene, the Huffington Post reported, yelled "It's coming from China." Following that, as reported by The New York Times, [Ogels] yelled "It's your fault" multiple times. "McCarthy," the Huffington Post reported, "looked crossly at members of his caucus and shushed them." A viral tweet from Huffington Post editor Philip Lewis captured that moment:

This video is also unedited, and begins at 1:37:06 in the official C-SPAN feed. 

Because all three instances are documented by unedited video that shows McCarthy shushing or otherwise signaling to his caucus to stop heckling, and because most if not all of these instances involved Greene, the claim is "True."

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Sources

Abreu, Danielle. "State of the Union 2023 Seating Chart: Who Sits Where?" NBC Bay Area, https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/national-international/who-sits-where-at-the-presidents-state-of-the-union-address/3150466/. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kevin McCarthy Repeatedly Shushes Marjorie Taylor Greene During State Of The Union Speech. https://news.yahoo.com/kevin-mccarthy-repeatedly-shushes-marjorie-044738208.html. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

"Marjorie Taylor Greene Yells 'Liar' during Combative State of the Union." Washington Post. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/02/08/state-of-union-hecklers-marjorie-taylor-greene/. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

President Biden Delivers 2023 State of the Union & Republican Response. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfe2sOi-apk. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.