Let it go already! Marjorie Taylor Greene won’t give up war with Mike Johnson after failed ouster

Georgia congresswoman’s bid to oust House speaker thwarted by Democrats, and members of her own party

John Bowden
Washington DC
Sunday 12 May 2024 21:50 BST
Marjorie Taylor Greene attacks Mike Johnson after failed attempt to oust him

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has signalled that significant divisions between her and fellow Republican Mike Johnson remain as she spoke about her failed attempt to bring down the House speaker earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Greene brought her long-awaited motion to vacate to the floor in an effort to remove Johnson from the speaker’s chair. It failed spectacularly, with 196 Republicans and 163 Democrats voting to kill her resolution.

But she appeared unable to move on during an interview with Fox News on Sunday where she accused Mr Johnson “of being owned by the Democrats” after the rival party voted to protect him.

Americans are “fed up with Republicans that will not defend President Trump”, Rep. Greene told host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures.

Bartiromo asked Greene whether her effort to oust Johnson was creating a “disruption” too close to an election when Republicans will be seeking to defend a thin majority in the chamber.

The Georgia lawmaker responded that “the disruption, the chaos and the drama” she was bringing to Capitol Hill was already a staple of the average American’s daily life, an allusion to problems she argues are failures of Washington.

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)

The congresswoman also shared that, ahead of her motion to vacate, she asked Mr Johnson to “defund Jack Smith” - the justice department’s special counsel overseeing investigations into Mr Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, and his handling of classified documents. The House speaker does not have the power to do that.

Ms Greene also claimed that the GOP would not win control of the House in November elections unless the party “prove[d] to the American people that we’re worth they’re vote. And so far, under Mike Johnson, we haven’t proven that”.

The remark is just one of many remarks from Greene that the Biden campaign is likely to weaponise against Republicans. A clip of her Fox interview was quickly shared on social media by an account operated by the Democratic National Committee, with the caption: ”Marjorie Taylor Greene: Republican voters are saying they’re going to skip our names on the ballot. They’re not going to vote for us”.

Ms Greene’s war with Speaker Johnson has now stretched on for months. In January, she threatened to call a motion to vacate the speakership, if brought a bill to fund military assistance to Ukraine, which he eventually did in April. That bill passed with wide bipartisan support last month, as expected, though more Democrats than Republicans supported it.

Despite few backers among Republicans, the Georgia lawmaker continued in her lonely bid to oust Mr Johnson which came a head on Wednesday.

Unlike the process which led to former Republican speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ouster last fall, Democrats crossed party lines to vote for Mr Johnson, citing his willingness to bring the Ukraine vote to the floor under threat from his party’s right wing. The chamber voted 359-43 to put aside her motion without an official vote or period of debate, a process called “tabling” the resolution.

“I appreciate the show of confidence from my colleagues to defeat this misguided effort,” Mr Johnson said after the ouster attempt. “In this moment, the country desperately needs a functioning Congress.”

Even conservative and right-wing members of the GOP rounded on Ms Greene following her ouster attempt.

“We need to get our act together,” said Nancy Mace, a Republican who supported ousting McCarthy, before Greene made her move this week. “She’s gonna lose. I don’t know why she’s doing this because the votes aren’t there. She’s gonna lose the motion to vacate, and I don’t know why she’s doing it.”

"One dumpster fire at a time," Dusty Johnson of South Dakota quipped when asked by one reporter if the caucus would punish Greene following the motion to vacate.

At this point, the congresswoman is persisting in criticizing the speaker contrary to the wishes of former president Donald Trump, who has remained the Republican party’s de facto leader.

Mr Trump has now made clear on several occasions that he did not support Ms Greene’s bid to oust Mr Johnson from the speakership.

The former president and Mr Johnson recently met at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where the two unveiled a piece of headline-grabbing legislation to combat the largely nonexistent problem of undocumented immigrants attempting to vote in presidential elections.

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