Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Greene faces uphill battle to oust Johnson

Emily Hudson By Emily Hudson Jun14,2024

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is escalating her threat to remove Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) from power, but she faces a steep climb if she hopes to achieve that goal. 

Not only has the Speaker recently received a glowing review from former President Trump, the GOP’s presumed presidential nominee, but Democrats remain ready to rescue Johnson from a conservative coup. On top of that, many of the conservatives most frustrated with Johnson’s leadership style are opposing a motion to vacate, leaving Greene with only the barest GOP support for her removal resolution. 

“My judgment and estimation is that this is not the time to do that,” said Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), head of the far-right Freedom Caucus. 

Not that Johnson is out of the woods. 

The Speaker has infuriated conservatives like Greene and Good for months by reaching across the aisle to cut a number of deals with President Biden on big-ticket issues like federal spending, government spying and, most recently, billions of dollars in new military aid to Ukraine — funding opposed by most of his GOP conference.

It was precisely those types of bipartisan agreements that led directly to the downfall of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who was ousted by frustrated hardliners in October. And Greene over the weekend called on Johnson to resign or she’s vowing to boot him from power. 

“Mike Johnson’s Speakership is over,” she said in an interview with Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” 

“He needs to do the right thing to resign and allow us to move forward in a controlled process. If he doesn’t do so, he will be vacated.”

Yet Greene’s position is a lonely one in the House GOP. 

While her vacate resolution won the support last week from two other Republicans — Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) — the prevailing sentiment among conservatives is that Johnson should remain in place despite their frustrations with his bipartisan deal-making. Those voices include Freedom Caucus leaders like Good, who supported McCarthy’s removal but are quick to point out that, for Republicans, the political environment has changed in the six months since then.

Not only has the GOP’s House majority shrunk — the result of the expulsion of former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) and the resignation of five other Republicans, including McCarthy — but there’s no obvious successor to Johnson, and the calendar is now inching closer to November. Many Republicans simply aren’t eager to repeat the weeks of chaos that followed McCarthy’s expulsion, when GOP lawmakers scrambled to locate a viable replacement.

“I think we do the best we can with the Speaker that we have — influence him to the best of our ability; expose what we believe are wrong actions by, not just the Speaker, but everyone who is voting to support those actions — and have a contest to see who the conference can coalesce around as the best option in November,” Good said.

Last week, when Johnson flirted with the idea of pushing a change in House rules to make it harder to remove a Speaker, the support for Greene’s vacate proposal appeared ready to spike, as conservatives like Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) threatened to jump on board.

Yet Johnson backed away from that rule change, keeping the single-vote threshold for launching a motion to vacate in place. And the number of lawmakers supporting Greene’s resolution — at least publicly — has remained at three. 

“I think a motion to vacate right now would almost certainly turn the House over to Democrats, and that’s why I won’t support it,” Gaetz said.  

The pushback from fellow conservatives has taken some of the air out of Greene’s threat to remove Johnson, not least because it means that it would take only a handful of Democrats — maybe fewer — to rescue the Speaker if a vacate motion does come up for a vote. 

Already, there are a number of Democrats on record saying publicly that they would vote to sink Greene’s resolution to save the Speaker — promised support that had hinged on Johnson’s willingness to stage votes to extend federal surveillance powers and provide more aid to Ukraine, both of which passed in recent days with strong bipartisan backing.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told The New York Times in February that “a reasonable number” of Democrats would rescue Johnson. Last week, he said the math hasn’t changed. 

“That statement still stands,” Jeffries told reporters. 

Complicating Greene’s effort even further, Trump recently hosted Johnson at Mar-a-Lago, where the former president praised the Speaker’s performance since taking the gavel. 

“He’s doing a really good job under very tough circumstances,” Trump said, just days before Johnson unveiled his strategy for passing Ukraine aid. 

None of those factors has discouraged Greene — at least not rhetorically. On Monday, the Georgia firebrand doubled down on her criticisms of Johnson when she told Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser, that GOP voters feel “betrayed” by the Speaker for his support of the new Ukraine aid and want a new crop of leaders who will fight to advance Trump’s “America First” agenda.

“They are absolutely done with Republican leadership like Mike Johnson, who totally sold us out to the Democrats, joined the uni-party faster than anyone we’ve ever seen in history, and literally made a night-and-day change in a matter of months,” she said. 

The internal criticisms have sparked a backlash of their own from more moderate Republicans, who support Johnson and are incredulous at the thought that such a small minority of disaffected conservatives could ordain that he must go. 

“He followed his compass, did the right thing, and she speaks for three or four people,” said Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.). “You can’t let three people dictate to the rest.”

Emily Hudson

By Emily Hudson

Emily is a talented author who has published several bestselling novels in the mystery genre. With a knack for creating gripping plotlines and intriguing characters, Emily's works have captivated readers worldwide.

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2 thoughts on “Greene faces uphill battle to oust Johnson”
  1. Mike Johnson’s Speakership is over,” she said in an interview with Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

  2. believes that Greene’s attempt to remove Speaker Johnson is a futile endeavor given the current political climate and lack of strong GOP support.

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