Rep. Cole says ‘reservoir of goodwill is enormous’ for Johnson amid ouster threat

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) on Sunday dismissed the ouster threat against House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), claiming it is a “relatively small number” of GOP lawmakers who want the Speaker booted from his position.

Asked on CBS News’s “Face The Nation” if he believes Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) motion to vacate is a “real threat” to Johnson’s leadership, Cole said, “Well, I take anything seriously. But no, I don’t.”

“I think it’s a relatively small number of Republican members, frankly, just as it was in McCarthy’s case, there were only eight people,” he added, in reference to last fall’s ousting of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

In McCarthy’s case, eight Republicans joined with Democrats to remove him. Cole noted he does not believe there is “unified Democratic support” against Johnson.

“I think both sides have now seen how dangerous this is, how irresponsible it is,” he said.

“The point is, [Johnson’s] gotten a lot done. I think people admire him. They genuinely like him. They all respect him,” Cole added later. “Every single Republican voted for him. I don’t think that any other person could have done that at the time other than Mike Johnson. So the reservoir of goodwill is enormous. I think he’s much stronger than the people seem to think. And I think he’s demonstrated that by what he’s passed.”

Greene introduced a motion to vacate the Speakership against Johnson last month after the House passed a spending package to avert a partial government shutdown hours before the deadline. The package received votes from both sides of the aisle but angered House conservatives.

At the time she called it “basically a warning,” but increasing tensions over Ukraine aid have renewed the threat, and she said on Sunday the motion is “coming regardless of what Mike Johnson decides to do.”

She did not outline exact details over what could prompt her to bring the motion to the floor, but she called on Johnson to resign.

“Mike Johnson’s Speakership is over. He needs to do the right thing to resign and allow us to move forward in a controlled process, and if he doesn’t do so, he will be vacated,” she said Sunday on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

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