Mark Green

U.S. Rep. Mark Green in 2021

In a public appearance Thursday, U.S. Rep. Mark Green faced questions about voting to overturn the 2020 election, reproductive rights, climate change and the ongoing investigation into former President Donald Trump. Green, a Republican who has represented Tennessee in Congress since 2019, is facing a reelection challenge from organizer Odessa Kelly in Tennessee’s newly gerrymandered 7th Congressional District, redistricted by the state's Republican supermajority earlier this year.

A campaign open house Thursday evening, titled Hot Chicken With Congressman Green, brought together donors, staff and local GOP boosters. Green then headed across the street to Vanderbilt University, where he faced a barrage of questions about his opposition to certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, support for privatized health care, opposition to the COVID vaccine and opposition to reproductive rights. In video of the event obtained by the Scene, Green spars with students, at one point telling an attendee, “I was willing to die so you could have your right to vote.” Green, a medical doctor, formerly worked as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Army.

Green, who has firmly aligned himself with the national GOP, engaged a student in a heated exchange about his continued support for Trump amid the ongoing Justice Department investigation into sensitive national security information found at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida estate. “There are things that could be there that would keep me from supporting him,” Green told the room. 

The congressman doubled down on his position against certifying Joe Biden’s election win in 2020, which rests on a discredited argument about illegal voting machines in Arizona. When asked about his views on climate change, Green explained that an increased concentration of carbon dioxide is beneficial to the environment before taking the opportunity to advertise a tree-planting nonprofit with which he is associated. When one student brought up the country’s highly politicized culture war, Green tied together Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, the writings of George Washington and the sexual revolution of the 1960s in a lecture on virtue.

“I have come up with the triangle of tyranny, with authoritarianism and subjugation as its goal,” said Green. “I describe the left’s triangle as subjugation and dependence, from chaos, that comes from moral relativity.”

Kelly previously worked as the executive director of Stand Up Nashville. Her platform includes support for universal health care and a federal response to climate change. Nashville is new territory for Green, whose district previously covered rural West and Middle Tennessee and skirted Davidson County. Green and Kelly will square off in the Nov. 8 election.

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