Greene faces tough challenge in removing Johnson from office

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is ramping up her efforts to oust Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) from his position, but she will encounter significant obstacles along the way.

The Speaker of the House, Johnson, has recently garnered praise from former President Trump, the presumed presidential nominee of the GOP. Additionally, Democrats are prepared to come to Johnson’s aid amidst a conservative coup. Interestingly, even some conservatives, who are dissatisfied with Johnson’s leadership approach, are opposing a motion to vacate. Consequently, Greene’s resolution for removal is supported by only a minimal number of Republicans.

According to Representative Bob Good, the leader of the far-right Freedom Caucus, now is not the appropriate time to do that.

Johnson is not completely free from trouble just yet.

Conservatives like Greene and Good have been extremely angered by the Speaker’s actions. For months, he has been crossing party lines and making deals with President Biden on significant matters such as federal spending, government surveillance, and, most recently, providing billions of dollars in new military aid to Ukraine. It’s important to note that this funding has been met with opposition from a majority of his Republican colleagues.

The downfall of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) can be attributed to the very same bipartisan agreements that were instrumental in his political success. McCarthy was ousted by disgruntled hard-liners in October, a consequence of these agreements. In a similar vein, Representative Greene has recently demanded Senator Johnson’s resignation, threatening to remove him from power if he does not comply.

In an interview with Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” she confidently declared that Mike Johnson’s Speakership has come to an end.

“He should do what’s right, which is to resign, and let us proceed in an orderly manner. If he fails to do so, he will be forced to leave.”

However, Greene’s stance appears to be an isolated one within the House GOP.

While her resolution to vacate the position received support last week from two other Republicans, namely Reps. Thomas Massie and Paul Gosar, the prevailing sentiment among conservatives is that Johnson should continue in her role, despite their frustrations with her bipartisan deal-making. This sentiment is echoed by leaders of the Freedom Caucus, including Good, who supported McCarthy’s removal. However, they are also quick to acknowledge that the political landscape has changed for Republicans in the past six months.

The GOP’s House majority has not only shrunk due to the expulsion of former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) and the resignation of five other Republicans, including McCarthy, but also there is no clear successor to Johnson. As the calendar moves closer to November, many Republicans are hesitant to go through the same weeks of turmoil that followed McCarthy’s expulsion. During that time, GOP lawmakers had to hastily search for a suitable replacement.

“I believe that we are making the most of the Speaker we have by exerting our influence to the fullest extent. We are also committed to exposing any actions that we deem to be wrong, not only by the Speaker but by all those who vote in favor of such actions. Our goal is to hold a contest and identify the candidate that our conference can unite behind as the best choice in November,” expressed Good.

Last week, when Johnson toyed with the notion of proposing a modification to House rules to increase the difficulty of ousting a Speaker, there was a noticeable surge in support for Greene’s motion. Prominent conservatives, such as Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), hinted at their willingness to endorse the proposal.

Johnson decided not to implement the rule change and instead kept the requirement of a single vote to launch a motion to vacate. As of now, only three lawmakers have publicly expressed their support for Greene’s resolution.

According to Gaetz, he will not support a motion to vacate at this time because he believes it would likely result in Democrats gaining control of the House.

Fellow conservatives have been pushing back against Greene’s threat to remove Johnson, which has somewhat deflated her plans. This also means that it would only require a few Democrats, perhaps even fewer, to come to the Speaker’s rescue if a motion to vacate does go up for a vote.

Several Democrats have already made it clear that they would vote against Greene’s resolution in order to protect the Speaker. These Democrats had previously pledged their support, contingent upon Johnson’s commitment to holding votes on issues such as extending federal surveillance powers and providing aid to Ukraine. Both of these measures were recently passed with significant bipartisan support.

According to The New York Times in February, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) stated that there would be “a reasonable number” of Democrats who would come to Johnson’s aid. He reiterated last week that the numbers remain the same.

Jeffries confirmed to reporters that his previous statement remains unchanged.

Adding to Greene’s challenges, Trump recently welcomed Johnson to Mar-a-Lago, where he commended the Speaker for her impressive performance since assuming the position.

“He is handling the situation remarkably well despite the challenging circumstances,” remarked Trump, shortly before Johnson revealed his plan for implementing Ukraine aid.

Despite facing multiple challenges and criticisms, Greene remains undeterred in her stance. In fact, she has further reinforced her disapproval of Johnson’s actions. In a recent conversation with Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser, Greene expressed that Republican voters feel a sense of betrayal from the Speaker’s support of the Ukraine aid and are seeking new leaders who will prioritize Trump’s “America First” agenda.

“They have had enough of Republican leadership, such as Mike Johnson, who completely betrayed us to the Democrats. He aligned with the establishment faster than anyone we have ever witnessed before, making a dramatic shift in a matter of months,” she passionately expressed.

Moderate Republicans who support Johnson are expressing disbelief at the notion that a small group of dissatisfied conservatives can dictate his removal, in response to the internal criticisms.

“He followed his compass and made the right decision,” stated Representative Don Bacon (R-Neb.). “Her voice represents the opinions of three or four individuals. We cannot allow a small group to dictate to the majority.”

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