Apr 9, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Marjorie Taylor Greene ramps up threat to oust Mike Johnson

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, wearing a black jacket and speaking to reporters.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Tuesday laid out the case for ousting House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) after teeing up a potential removal vote last month.

Why it matters: Republicans hold a razor thin majority, and many on the right are frustrated with Johnson for pushing a bipartisan spending deal — leading even the speaker and his allies to acknowledge the lingering threat.

  • But some lawmakers aren't taking it too seriously One House Republican noted Greene is "upset … but doesn't commit to anything" in her latest broadside against Johnson.
  • "She wants to hold us hostage to a depressed view of America … or else," the lawmaker said. "Take a hike … Get a therapist or a dog."
  • Johnson and other Republicans – including some sympathetic to Greene – have warned that triggering a vote to remove him as speaker could end up handing the speakership to Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).

Driving the news: Greene sent a five-page "Dear Colleague" letter alleging Johnson "broke our conference rules and the promises we made to our voters" in passing a bill to fund half a dozen federal agencies last month.

  • "Mike Johnson has unfortunately not lived up to a single one of his self-imposed tenets," she wrote – citing his deal-making with Democrats, as well as the expulsion of George Santos, which Johnson opposed.
  • Greene trained her ire on expected votes this week to reauthorize FISA and provide funding for Ukraine, saying she "will not tolerate this type of Republican 'leadership.'"
  • "If these actions by the leader of our conference continue, then we are not a Republican party— we are a Uniparty ... I will neither support nor take part in any of that, and neither will the people we represent," she wrote.

The other side: The GOP lawmaker said, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they are "growing tired of people airing their grievances for the only purpose of airing their grievances."

  • "I skimmed over it with all of the attention that it deserves," said Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.).
  • A spokesperson for Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

State of play: Greene's threat comes as Johnson attempts to pass legislation along a bipartisan basis that risks angering his right flank.

  • The right-wing Freedom Caucus, recognizing its leverage, has gone so far as to demand strict conditions on funding to repair the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, which collapsed late last month.
  • Johnson, the least experienced speaker in over a century, has been in the position for roughly five months, following a GOP-led historic ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) less than a year after he took the gavel.

Between the lines: Several centrist Democrats have said they would likely vote to save Johnson, especially if he puts a Ukraine aid bill on the floor.

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