Democrats say they’ll save Johnson from Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ouster attempt: ‘I’ll hold my nose’

‘She can’t decide what she wants to do other than try and be famous’

Eric Garcia
Washington DC
,Katie Hawkinson
Tuesday 07 May 2024 20:46 BST
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Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks to The Independent on attempt to oust Speaker Mike Johnson

House Democrats don’t like the fact that they might have to save House Speaker Mike Johnson. But they are coming to accept they will do it, if it means stopping Johnson from cutting a deal with Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.

On Tuesday, Greene met for more than an hour with the speaker in his office, even as votes began on the House floor and Johnson was set to meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Afterwards, Greene told reporters the outcome lay with the speaker.

“We will see,” she said. “It is up to Mike Johnson.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene (right) speaks to reporters in the US Capitol before her second meeting with Speaker Mike Johnson on 7 May 2024. Democrats say they will vote to table her motion to vacate if she brings it forward
Marjorie Taylor Greene (right) speaks to reporters in the US Capitol before her second meeting with Speaker Mike Johnson on 7 May 2024. Democrats say they will vote to table her motion to vacate if she brings it forward (Getty Images)

Greene filed a motion to vacate the chair, which would trigger a no-confidence vote in Johnson, back in March. Last week, Greene (and Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky) said that she would trigger a vote to oust the speaker after House Democratic leadership said they would consider tabling Greene’s motion to vacate.

But that does not mean Democrats will relish doing so.

“I thought they fell in love again,” Representative Jim McGovern, the top Democrat on the Rules Committees, told The Independent, after the meeting between Johnson and Greene, “and I wouldn’t have to hold my nose and vote not to vacate the chair.”

Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell of California criticised Greene for seeming wobbly on pushing Johnson out.

“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,” he told The Independent. “And as I said, it looks more like a motion to vacillate than a motion to vacate because she can’t decide what she wants to do other than try and be famous.”

Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell, pictured in the US Capitol, told The Independent his party wants to ‘get s*** done.'
Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell, pictured in the US Capitol, told The Independent his party wants to ‘get s*** done.' (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, some GOP members are brushing off Greene’s fight with the speaker.

Representative Nancy Mace, a Republican from South Carolina, said Greene won’t succeed.

“We need to get our act together and come together for the betterment of our country... I don’t know why she’s doing this because the votes aren’t there,” Mace said of her colleague on Monday morning.

Representative Mike Lawler, a Republican from New York who represents a district that voted for President Joe Biden, laughed off the motion to vacate as a stunt.

“I just don’t care, it’s so stupid,” he told The Independent.

Rep. Nancy Mace condemns Marjorie Taylor Greene's efforts to oust Speaker Johnson

Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina called Greene “uninformed” and “a waste of time” last month when she called to oust Johnson the first time.

But some fellow far-right representatives are happy to see Greene standing up to the speaker.

Representative Chip Roy, a Republican from Texas and member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, said on Tuesday that he broadly agrees with Marjorie Taylor Greene’s call for change.

“I don’t know her exact laundry list, but in broad terms, yes,” Roy told The Independent just outside the US House chambers. “The American people are not happy.”

Greene has demanded that Johnson not provide any more aid to Ukraine; that the House defund Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigations into former president Donald Trump; and that only legislation that has a support of the majority of the House Republican conference receive a vote. The latter demand is commonly known as the “Hastert rule.”

Greene told The Independent she wants Speaker Mike Johnson gone because he is not honoring voters’ wishes.

“[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,” Greene told The Independent on Tuesday. “This is not what Americans voted for — they gave us the majority because they want a Republican agenda. That’s what we’re here to work on.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene exits second meeting with Speaker Mike Johnson on Tuesday afternoon

Johnson enraged many Republicans after he brokered a bipartisan agreement with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass legislation to keep the government open until the end of the current fiscal year.

He further enraged Ms Greene and other Republicans when he passed a massive spending package that provided aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

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