Shutterstock; ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (left) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Washington Post staffers say they saw Greene, a controversial freshman lawmaker from Georgia, loudly and "aggressively" confront the New York Democrat on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Post reporters, the 46-year-old Greene was shouting "Hey Alexandria" as Ocasio-Cortez left the House chamber on Wednesday afternoon.
When Ocasio-Cortez, 31, did not turn around in response, Greene began walking faster toward her and asking her why she supports members of Black Lives Matter and antifa, referencing both as "terrorists," the Post reports.
"You don't care about the American people," Greene shouted, according to the Post. "Why do you support terrorists and antifa?" (Antifa is an umbrella term for a broad array of leftist and anti-fascist groups, some of whom are militant. Ocasio-Cortez, whose progressive politics are often criticized by Republicans, is not affiliated with them.)
The Post reported that Ocasio-Cortez did say something to Greene at one point, though the reporters could not hear her words. The witnesses said that she could be seen "turning around once and throwing her hands in the air in an exasperated motion."
Greene later told reporters that Ocasio-Cortez was refusing to debate her and was therefore a "chicken."
"She's a chicken, she doesn't want to debate the Green New Deal," Greene said, according to the Post, referring to environmental legislation Ocasio-Cortez supports. "These members are cowards. They need to defend their legislation to the people. That's pathetic."
Ocasio-Cortez's spokeswoman told the Post that she hoped for Congress to be a "safe, civil place for all Members and staff."
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
"Representative Greene tried to begin an argument with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and when Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tried to walk away, Congresswoman Greene began screaming and called Rep. Ocasio-Cortez a terrorist sympathizer," the spokeswoman said in a statement to the Post. "We hope leadership and the Sergeant at Arms will take real steps to make Congress a safe, civil place for all Members and staff — especially as many offices are discussing reopening."
The spokeswoman, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE, continued:
"One Member has already been forced to relocate her office due to Congresswoman Greene's attacks," a reference to House Democrat Cori Bush, who wrote in a January tweet that she was moving her office because, she alleged, Greene and her staff "berated me in a hallway" and "targeted me & others on social media."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly said the House Ethics Committee should look into what she called a "verbal assault."
When asked on Thursday to respond to the reports about the verbal altercation, a spokesperson for Greene sent PEOPLE a link to a tweet from the Republican in which she called Ocasio-Cortez "Ms. Defund The Police" and said her Democratic colleague wanted "to call the police for security bc she's afraid of debating with me."
"AOC is a fraud & a hypocrite," Greene continued in the tweet, accusing Ocasio-Cortez of lacking "the courage & intelligence to debate me" and again claim Ocasio-Cortez backed "criminals in Antifa/BLM [Black Lives Matter] riots."
Greene has been a lightning rod for controversy since even before entering Congress in January, in part because of her past support of the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory. (Her representatives now say she doesn't believe in QAnon.)
Greene also has a history of incendiary social media activity, including a "liked" Facebook comment that called for "a bullet to the head" of Speaker Pelosi and musing about whether a California wildfire was started by a space laser.
She also made various derogatory comments about Muslims and Black and Hispanic people.
Previous social media videos lshowed Greene badgering Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg prior to being elected to Congress, leading some colleagues to question why she had been given one of the Republican seats on the House Education and Labor Committee.
Greene has denied personal responsibility for her Facebook page's activity while saying the media was ignoring numerous other more benign posts.
She has also said she is targeted by the "radical, left-wing Democrat mob" and is working to "save our country."
Dustin Chambers/Getty Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
In February, in light of her controversial comments, the House of Representatives voted 230 to 199 to strip Greene of all her committee assignments — with some Republicans joining the Democratic majority.
"I have never encountered a situation like the one before us now, where a member has made such vile and hurtful statements, engaged in the harassment of colleagues and expressed support for political violence," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a speech at the time of the vote. "None of us should take any pleasure in what we must do today, but to do nothing would be an abdication of our moral responsibility to our colleagues, to the House, to our values, to the truth and to our country."
Greene, who campaigns in the style of former President Donald Trump, has antagonized other Democratic congressional colleagues in the past.
In February, she mocked Democratic Rep. Marie Newman after Newman, who has a transgender daughter, hung a transgender pride flag next to her door.
Greene, who has opposed LGBTQ rights bills, responded by displaying a sign at her office across the hall: "There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE. Trust The Science."