Commentary

Rep. Mark Green, the West Point officer who opposed certifying the results of a U.S. election

December 15, 2022 4:57 pm
Backed by his children, U.S. Rep. Mark Green thanks the crowd at Nashville's Millennium Maxwell House for electing him to a third term in Congress. (Photo: Nick Fantasia)

Backed by his children, U.S. Rep. Mark Green thanks the crowd at Nashville’s Millennium Maxwell House for electing him to a third term in Congress. (Photo: Nick Fantasia)

The walls of the Old Cadet Chapel at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point are adorned with plaques honoring America’s Revolutionary War generals, with George Washington’s featured most prominently.

One plaque hangs apart from the rest and differs by only having the words, “Major General. Born 1740.”

The nameless plaque denotes the wartime service of a man whose name has been synonymous with traitorous behavior for more than 200 years: Benedict Arnold. 

The Old Cadet Chapel is sited at the entrance to the West Point Cemetery and is used for memorial, funerals and some worship services, although cadets haven’t regularly used it for chapel since a newer one was built in 1936. 

So it’s impossible to know how often U.S. Rep. Mark Green, a 1986 West Point graduate, availed himself of the Old Cadet Chapel and if he gazed on the nameless Arnold plaque. But most cadets are likely familiar with the story of Arnold, a decorated Continental Army commander who history tells us became disenchanted after failing to gain promotions, selling out secrets to the British. 

Arnold was commander of the Continental Army base located at West Point in 1779, at which point he began to negotiate with the British to surrender the base in exchange for a commission in the British army and money. It’s a wonder there’s any recognition of him at all on the West Point campus.

I can’t wrap my head around how Green, a West Point graduate, Army Ranger and Bronze Star recipient who retired from the Army as major, came to fall for and promote bogus theories to overturn the 2020 election. He’s no Benedict Arnold, but he’s in the ballpark.  

I raise the specter of Arnold in light of the news disclosed this week that Green exchanged text messages with Mark Meadows, former chief of staff to former President Donald Trump, in the lead up to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. 

According to a story published first by Talking Points Memo, an award-winning independent news site founded in 2000, Green, a Tennessee Republican, was one of 34 congressmen exchanging messages with Meadows. 

According to TPM, Green wrote: “Dick Morris is saying State Leg can intervene and declare Trump winner.�NC, PA, MI, WI all have GOP Leg. �” He then sent Meadows a link to a story citing Morris on Newsmax, the far-right wing TV network that published Trump-pushed conspiracy theories about voter fraud in 2020.

Morris isn’t a credible source either. A pollster and political analyst who was once a Democrat, Morris changed political sides and began propagating theories of his own, like the one he discussed in 2012: President Barack Obama, Morris told members of the Georgia House Republican Caucus, was using mind-control techniques under the guise of sustainability to create a Communist dictatorship under United Nations control.

I reached out to Green’s communication director, Rachel del Guidice, for comment on the Meadows texts and received the same statement she gave to TPM on behalf of Green. The suggestion to have legislatures call the election for Trump wasn’t really Green’s idea; he was only following the wishes of Tennesseans!

“Congressman Green was passing along what constituents were sending him to keep the White House informed on the sentiments of his constituents,” del Guidice told TPM in a statement.  “He wasn’t advocating for any specific course of action.”

But the texts to Meadows weren’t Green’s only action that threatened the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. He issued a media release on Dec. 30, 2020, which hasn’t aged well at all.

Headlined, “Rep. Mark Green Supports Objection to Electoral College Certification on Jan. 6,” the release states in part, “I tried to sound the alarms for nearly a year in House Homeland Security Committee and Oversight Committee hearings that the increase in mail-in balloting and last-minute changes to election laws could lead to confusion, fraud, and distrust.”

There we go with the fraud allegations, which have been proven time and again to be false, but which seeded our voting public with mistrust that continues to harm our democracy.

He cited Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, and Republican Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama, neither of whom will go down in history for patriotic behavior and joined them in the group that voted against certifying the election, despite the Capitol riot that preceded the vote.

And as Eli Motycka with the Nashville Scene reported from a September Green campaign event, “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. ”

In return for Green’s support, Trump endorsed him in recent congressional race. 

But I still can’t wrap my head around how Green, a West Point graduate, Army Ranger and Bronze Star recipient who retired from the Army as major, came to fall for and promote bogus theories to overturn the 2020 election. 

Of course, I also cannot understand how Green, a physician, thinks that vaccines cause autism and that access to federal programs like Medicaid keeps ill people from knowing God. 

Providing an outgoing president concepts on how to overturn a free and fair election in order to retain power isn’t quite the same as selling out secrets to the enemy and Green is no Arnold, but his actions still constitute a threat to Democracy and are nothing for a West Pointer to be proud of.

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Holly McCall
Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. She has served as political analyst for WZTV Fox 17 and provided communications consulting for political campaigns at all levels, from city council to presidential. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.

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