For Some Reason, Johnson And Trump Rush To Help Greene Not Embarrass Herself

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I don’t have an answer as to why exactly criminal defendant and 2024 Republican nominee Donald Trump and House Speaker of a teeny tiny majority Mike Johnson (R-LA) are both taking time out of their busy schedules this week to try to talk Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) out of embarrassing herself with a doomed motion to vacate maneuver — but it’s striking to see.

ABC News, Politico and Axios all had reports out today about the pair’s reported efforts to sway Greene against filing the motion to vacate challenging Johnson’s speakership, a move that is all but guaranteed to fail as Democrats announced last week that they would step in to help table the measure if she brought it forward. Greene is mad about a number of things but mostly Johnson’s efforts to get crucial aid to Ukraine approved in the House, which was done with the help of Democrats. Johnson’s work with Democrats to actually legislate has become a practical reality of his speakership, which has angered professional disrupters on the far-right like Greene and others.

According to the reports, Trump spoke with Greene over the weekend, when he also invited Johnson onstage during an RNC spring retreat luncheon to show his support for the speaker. During that encounter he praised Johnson “for his leadership and work in the U.S. House,” and harped on “the need for party unity, collaboration, and expanding the GOP’s House Majority,” the Trump campaign told ABC News.

While praising Johnson publicly, Trump worked the phone privately. Greene and Trump had a “lengthy phone call,” this weekend, in which Trump asked her to “stand down from the so-called motion to vacate,” both in Politico’s words.

“I have it under very, very good sources that President Trump did engage. And I’m hoping that perhaps one would come to the conclusion: ‘You made your point,’” Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) told Politico, referencing what he knew of the conversation. “But don’t be Kamikaze, because if you go for this, you’re gonna get beaten down. And he made that point. I’m hoping that’s the outcome.”

“He told her not to do it,” another unnamed Republican told Politico.

Trump’s weekend effort to convince Greene to stand down served as a backdrop to two meetings that Johnson has held with the congresswoman this week, along with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who has co-sponsored Greene’s motion to vacate threat. While Johnson has insisted that the meetings are “not a negotiation,” the conversation Monday lasted about two hours and the trio met again today to discuss a path forward, according to Politico.

While Johnson may not want the press characterizing the conversations as a negotiation, Greene has emerged from the meetings this week with a list of requests that she and Massie are pushing in exchange for … not embarrassing themselves by filing a bipartisanly unpopular motion to vacate. One of the demands involves passing legislation to “defund” Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office, which has, of course, brought charges against Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Greene has not yet said whether she plans to follow through with the announcement she made last week that she would file a motion to vacate this week. But Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), another co-sponsor of her effort, told Axios that he is opposed to doing it this week.

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