Apr 1, 2024 - Politics & Policy

"That's a risk": Mike Johnson warns Jeffries could become speaker

House Speaker Mike Johnson, wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and red tie, flanked by Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Whip Tom Emmer.

House Speaker Mike Johnson. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Monday acknowledged there is a "risk" of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) becoming speaker in the coming weeks.

Why it matters: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has threatened to trigger a vote to remove Johnson if he puts a Ukraine aid bill on the House floor — which he has said he plans to do later this month.

  • Republicans' razor thin majority means that just a handful of GOP defections could elect Jeffries – a possibility some conservatives have pointed to as their basis for opposing a motion to vacate.

What he's saying: Asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity asked if there is a "possibility that [Jeffries] could emerge a winner" if Greene triggers a motion to vacate, Johnson replied: "That's a risk."

  • Still, Johnson added "I don't think that's going to happen," noting Greene did not file the motion in a way that forces the the House to vote.
  • "She's trying to send a message," Johnson said. "Marjorie knows how high the stakes are for the country. We all do. And that's why it's never been more important for us to stand together ... We're going to get through this. Hakeem is not going to be the speaker."

Zoom in: Johnson's comment comes after Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), a centrist Johnson ally, said that his removal is a "possibility" and that a vote is "very likely."

Yes, but: Several centrist House Democrats have suggested they would vote to rescue Johnson, especially if he puts a Ukraine aid bill up for a vote.

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