Updated May 18, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump and Mike Johnson plot 2025 plans

Photo illustration of Donald Trump and Mike Johnson surrounded by cut out images of the White House and the Capitol dome with abstract shapes and lines connecting them.

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Kevin Dietsch and Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Donald Trump and Mike Johnson are talking at length about plans for next year, a strong sign that the former president sees the speaker as more than an interim caretaker.

Why it matters: MAGA hardliners want Johnson gone next year, setting the stage for a nasty leadership fight next year whether or not House Republicans keep the majority after the November elections.

  • "Everyone that's gonna be voting for President Trump hates Mike Johnson," Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told Axios.
  • House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has been quietly positioning himself to replace Johnson as party leader, multiple sources told Axios.

Zoom in: Trump and Johnson are aiming to avoid the legislative scramble of Trump's early days in the White House after his win in 2016, sources told Axios.

  • The two have discussed budget priorities and how congressional Republicans could help pass Trump's second-term agenda.
  • They've discussed using budget reconciliation to get around the need for 60 Senate votes to pass legislation on their agenda — such as energy and tax policy — if Republicans sweep the House, Senate and the White House.

The other side: "Johnson is the one that's pushing himself out there to set the agenda for the first 100 days," Greene told Axios.

The big picture: Trump sees Johnson as a "good enough ally" and understands the importance of dealmaking in Congress, a top Trump ally told Axios.

  • Their relationship has deepened since 2019, when Trump first saw Johnson defend Trump on TV as a part of his impeachment defense team.
  • Johnson, meanwhile, "respects him as the party leader," one senior GOP source said.

Between the lines: Johnson's communications style has helped him get away with some policy differences with Trump, people close to the two said.

  • The speaker gives Trump ample heads up when he plans to bring legislation to the floor, and walks Trump through his thinking, even when the two disagree.
  • "There was an issue where Trump's initial perspective was like, you're taking this in the wrong direction, right. And he worked with him a little bit. Trump kind of ended up being like, 'You know what, I don't know if I agree with you, but do what you think you got to do,'" one former Trump official said.

The bottom line: "Loyalty is always going to be chief among the things that [Trump] cares about, and Johnson has never wavered on that," one former White House official said.

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