Marjorie Taylor Greene makes case for ousting Mike Johnson, dialing up pressure

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

WASHINGTON – Firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is making the case for ousting House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., sending a scathing letter to her fellow GOP lawmakers in what is a significant escalation of her threat against the speaker.

Greene laid out a slate of her reasons in the letter on Tuesday morning, taking aim at Johnson for failing to secure conservative wins, working with Democrats and President Joe Biden to fund the government and his expected plan to pass Ukraine aid, accusing the speaker of advancing “the Democrats’ agenda.”

“I will not tolerate our elected Republican Speaker Mike Johnson serving the Democrats and the Biden administration and helping them achieve their policies that are destroying our country,” Greene said. “He is throwing our own razor-thin majority into chaos by not serving his own GOP conference that elected him.”

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks to reporters outside of the U.S. Capitol Building after a vote on a funding bill that would avert a government shutdown on March 22, 2024 in Washington, DC.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks to reporters outside of the U.S. Capitol Building after a vote on a funding bill that would avert a government shutdown on March 22, 2024 in Washington, DC.

Will Marjorie Taylor Greene force a vote to oust Speaker Mike Johnson?

The letter comes as House lawmakers return to Washington from a two-week recess, signaling that Greene will be working to shore up support for forcibly removing Johnson from the speakership among her colleagues. At any time, Greene may force a vote to oust Johnson but it is so far unclear how much support her effort has. Republicans currently control the House with just a one-vote margin, meaning all it would take is just a few GOP lawmakers and all Democrats to remove the speaker.

Greene filed what is known as a “motion to vacate” against Johnson in March but did not move to force it to the floor, instead calling it a “warning” for the speaker. The Georgia Republican has not indicated when she intends to call it up for a vote but the letter suggests she is committing to her efforts to oust Johnson.

“I will not tolerate this type of Republican ‘leadership.’ This has been a complete and total surrender to, if not complete and total lockstep with, the Democrats’ agenda,” Greene said, arguing Johnson is jeopardizing the House Republican majority and giving voters “very little reason to vote for,” Republicans.

If Republicans do retain their majority in the 2024 election, Greene said, it would be because of former President Donald Trump being at the top of the ballot, “not because we have earned it.”

Greene also went after her fellow Republicans, calling herself a “team player" and saying she pays her dues to House Republicans’ campaign arm “and hundreds of thousands more,” compared to “most Republicans.”

Johnson has described Greene as a “friend” and has defended his actions repeatedly. Johnson and a swath of other GOP lawmakers allied with Johnson noted that they have little leverage in negotiations with Democrats given they only control the House with a narrow majority.

But Greene dismissed that defense in her letter, arguing Republicans could have got conservative policy wins in negotiations “if we had only put up a fight with Democrats.” Johnson, Greene said, was “no different” than House Minority Leader, Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.

Speaker Mike Johnson under intense pressure on Ukraine

Greene’s escalation of her attacks against Johnson comes at a fraught time for the speaker who was elected to the speakership less than six months ago. Returning from the recess, Johnson is under intense pressure from both sides of the aisle to pass Ukraine aid and will have to reckon with a controversial spying law that has once again exposed the deep divisions in the House GOP conference. Both issues of which Greene tore into in her letter.

“Mike Johnson is publicly saying funding Ukraine is now his top priority when less than 7 months ago he was against it,” Greene said. “The American people disagree – they believe our border is the only border worth fighting a war over, and I agree with them.”

“If these actions by the leader of our conference continue, then we are not a Republican party – we are a Uniparty that is hell-bent on remaining on the path of self-inflicted destruction. I will neither support nor take part in any of that, and neither will the people we represent,” Greene added.

While support for Greene’s effort to oust Johnson remains unclear, several Republicans who voted to remove his predecessor, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, have expressed skepticism about removing Johnson. Some of those GOP lawmakers suggested that removing Johnson could elevate Jeffries to the speakership, but Greene chided that defense.

“No, electing a new Republican speaker will not give the majority to the Democrats. That only happens if more Republicans retire early, or Republicans actually vote for Hakeem Jeffries. It's not complicated, it's simple math,” she said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MTG makes case for ousting Mike Johnson to GOP, dialing up pressure