Marjorie Taylor Greene’s very public bid to oust Mike Johnson fails minutes after she files motion

‘It’s a gimmick, it’s a joke, it’s laughable,’ says fellow Republican while Greene says ‘we need Republicans that are finally going to stand up and stop this bullshit.’

Katie Hawkinson
Washington, DC
,Eric Garcia
Thursday 09 May 2024 00:12 BST
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House votes to save speaker Mike Johnson from Marjorie Taylor Greene’s removal attempt

The House of Representatives killed Marjorie Taylor Greene’s bid to remove Speaker Mike Johnson just minutes after she introduced the motion on Wednesday.

Ms Greene’s coterie seemed excited as she approached the floor to begin the vote. As moderate Republicans took the steps, her press secretary lit a cigarette watching them criticise the right-wing firebrand. Her boyfriend Brian Glenn, the host of Right Side Broadcasting Network, came the Hill for votes and seemed excited for the fireworks.

“I love it, I support it,” Mr Glenn told The Independent.

In the end, an overwhelming number of Democrats and Republicans pushed back against Ms Greene. The House voted 359-43 against the Republican congresswoman’s ouster attempt, allowing Mr Johnson to stay in his position.

“I'm proud of what I did today,” Ms Greene told reporters soon after the defeat. “And I'm thankful that all of this has been exposed for the American people.”

At the same time, Florida Republican Representative Carlos Giménez interrupted her saying “you’re not the Republican Party.”

“Because she’s an idiot,” Mr Giménez told The Independent. “That's all she wants is the attention..”

Ms Greene introduced her motion around 5pm after publicly vowing to do so for the past week. She met with the speaker twice this week alongside one of her few allies, GOP Representative Thomas Massie.

“We need Republicans that are finally going to stand up and stop this bulls***,” she told reporters.

The motion was privileged which meant the House would have been forced to vote within 48 hours. But the vote commenced minutes after Ms Greene finished speaking.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, pictured speaking on the House floor on Wednesday, was defeated when she attempted to remove Speaker Mike Johnson
Marjorie Taylor Greene, pictured speaking on the House floor on Wednesday, was defeated when she attempted to remove Speaker Mike Johnson (C-SPAN)

Mr Johnson spoke to reporters soon after the vote ended and failed.

“I appreciate the show of confidence from my colleagues to defeat this misguided effort,” Mr Johnson said.

“In this moment, the country desperately needs a functioning Congress,” he continued. “That’s what the overwhelming majority of the members in this body demonstrated today.”

Democrats and some GOP members had vowed earlier this week to save Mr Johnson, making Wednesday’s outcome unsurprising.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries defended the decision to save the archconservative Mr Johnson, a staunch ally of former president Donald Trump who worked to overturn the 2020 election results.

“Our decision to stop Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from plunging the House of Representatives and the country into further chaos is rooted in our commitment to solving problems for everyday Americans in a bipartisan manner,” Mr Jeffries said in a statement. “We need more common sense and less chaos in Washington, D.C.”

Even Mr Trump came out against the motion.

‘With a Majority of One, shortly growing to three or four, we’re not in a position of voting on a Motion to Vacate,” he said on Truth Social. “At some point, we may very well be, but this is not the time.”

Only eleven GOP representatives voted against saving Mr Johnson.

“It doesn't matter what the rest of the conference feels, they just want everything to be easy and simple for them,” Ms Greene said after the vote. “And it's not easy and simple...I think the number ‘eleven’ should scream loudly to people that pay attention.”

GOP members lambasted Ms Greene’s motion moments after she announced it.

“It’s a gimmick, it’s a joke, it’s laughable,” Republican Representative Max Miller of Ohio told reporters. “We have real work to do.”

“It’s going to sow discord...and by the way, it’s going to fail,” GOP Congressman Dusty Johnson said on the House steps.

Ms Greene first filed her motion after Mr Johnson brokered an agreement with Democrats and the Senate to keep the government open until September. She said she would make her motion privileged after Mr Johnson worked with Democrats to pass a series of foreign aid bills that sent assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Speaker Mike Johnson talks to reporters after Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a motion to remove him on Wednesday afternoon. The House voted overwhelmingly to keep him in the leadership position
Speaker Mike Johnson talks to reporters after Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a motion to remove him on Wednesday afternoon. The House voted overwhelmingly to keep him in the leadership position (Getty Images)

Ms Greene had told The Independent on Tuesday that the speaker has been “working with Democrats the entire time.”

“[The Democrats] are ready to deliver the votes to save his speakership, because they support him because of what he’s delivered for the Democrats and the Biden agenda,” she said.

In their meetings earlier this week, Ms Greene and Mr Massie gave Mr Johnson a list of demands. The pair asked Mr Johnson to block future aid to Ukraine, as well as defund Special Counsel Jack Smith’s probes into former president Donald Trump and that only bills that had the support of the majority of the House GOP conference receive a vote.

These asks were largely symbolic because the Senate and President Joe Biden would most likely have blocked them.

Democrats were also deeply critical of Ms Greene on Tuesday, before she filed the motion.

The other side levelled similar criticisms on Tuesday while it was still unclear when Ms Greene would bring her motion.

“I can just speak for our side — we’re gonna be the side that wants to get s**t done, we’ll be united, we’ll deliver the votes,” Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell told The Independent.

Mr Johnson, a GOP representative from Louisiana, became speaker in October 2023. He won the leadership position after 22 days of turmoil in the House following the removal of former speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (centre) and Thomas Massie (right) pictured on 1 May calling for the House to oust Speaker Mike Johnson while standing with pictures of Mr Johnson and Democratic House leader Hakeem Jeffries. The pair has criticised Mr Johnson for working with Democrats
Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (centre) and Thomas Massie (right) pictured on 1 May calling for the House to oust Speaker Mike Johnson while standing with pictures of Mr Johnson and Democratic House leader Hakeem Jeffries. The pair has criticised Mr Johnson for working with Democrats (AP)

Ms Greene has been promising for weeks to bring the motion to vacate against the speaker. At a press conference, she blasted work between Mr Johnson and Mr Jeffries as a culmination of the “uniparty” and held up a hat brandished with “MUGA”.

“The uniparty is ‘Make Ukraine Great Again,’” Ms Greene said on 1 May. “The uniparty is about funding every single foreign war. They think this is the business model that needs to be done.”

But in a sign of how the divide within the GOP would not subside soon, Mr Giménez and Ms Greene’s spokesman Nick Dyer got into an argument about whether Ms Greene filed her motion for attention or for the good of the country.

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