MTG’s Attempt to Remove Speaker Johnson Immediately Crashes and Burns

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

On Wednesday Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) pulled the trigger on her motion to oust Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) from his role as House Speaker.

Johnson’s allies in House GOP leadership, however, moved immediately to table her effort.

The motion to table—which effectively shuts down Greene’s ouster attempt—passed 359 to 43. Seven lawmakers voted present. 10 Republicans joined Greene in her effort to remove Johnson, including hard-right Johnson detractors Reps. Eli Crane (R-AZ) and Warren Davidson (R-OH).

The rest of the votes to depose Johnson came from Democrats, primarily progressives who could not stomach a vote to save the staunchly conservative speaker.

The vote marked the second time in seven months that House Republicans have tried to remove their own Speaker—an unprecedented sign of chaos.

But Greene’s quest to boot Johnson was doomed from the get-go as Democrats promised in advance to help table the motion.

For starters, the Georgia Republican had only garnered two additional members to publicly support her motion, Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) before she filed it. The latter has expressed to reporters that he does not believe the motion to vacate should be triggered this week.

Two would be enough to oust Johnson if no Democrats came to his aid, but luckily for the Speaker, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and the Democratic caucus bailed him out.

They came to his rescue for the same reason that MAGA conservatives are irate with Johnson: his championing of a huge aid package for Ukraine that passed the House on April 20.

“At this moment, upon completion of our national security work, the time has come to turn the page on this chapter of Pro-Putin Republican obstruction,” House Democratic leaders said in a statement on Tuesday. “We will vote to table Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Motion to Vacate the Chair. If she invokes the motion, it will not succeed.”

That announcement, which comes after weeks of signaling that Democrats would rescue Johnson if he secured a Ukraine aid package, means Greene’s gambit will fall flat this time.

Indeed, Greene acknowledged this reality—but said she believes people should still go on record with their support for Johnson.

“Mike Johnson is officially the Democrat Speaker of the House,” Greene said in a post on X in response to the Democratic leaders’ statement. “I’m a big believer in recorded votes because putting Congress on record allows every American to see the truth and provides transparency to our votes. Americans deserve to see the Uniparty on full display. I’m about to give them their coming out party!”

The move comes after a week during which Massie and Greene met with Johnson numerous times to try and work out a deal to avoid triggering the motion to vacate.

Greene said she demanded of Johnson a number of things, including observing the Hastert Rule—the unofficial GOP principle that the majority of the majority must support any bill—to block any more funding for Ukraine, and to defund special counsel investigations.

Obviously, Greene was not pleased with the answers she received from Johnson, as she quickly went through with her promise to try and oust him.

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