MTG presents case for removing Johnson as speaker in appeal to House GOP

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) made her strongest threat yet against House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) after sending a letter to her Republican colleagues making a direct pitch as to why he should be removed from the top leadership position

In a scathing five-page Dear Colleague letter sent to lawmakers on Tuesday, Greene outlined several instances in which she said Johnson has violated the promises he made when he was first elected to lead the conference. Although Greene did not explicitly say she would move forward with the process to oust Johnson, the letter marks a clear escalation that underscores the strongest threat the speaker has faced since being elevated to the position nearly six months ago. 

“Mike Johnson has unfortunately not lived up to a single one of his self-imposed tenets,” Greene wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the Washington Examiner. “Rules? What rules? Remember the precious rules? Apparently, they no longer matter to Mike Johnson, even though he promised to abide by them and enforce them.”

Shortly before lawmakers adjourned for their two-week Easter recess, Greene filed a motion to vacate on the House floor in what she called a “warning” to Johnson. Although the Georgia Republican has not forced action on the measure, the threat looms over Johnson as he considers a path forward on key matters such as Ukraine aid and national security reform. 

Greene cited several promises she said Johnson made when first elected speaker, including a vow to ensure regular order by allowing 72 hours to review bill text and single-subject appropriations bills. Greene then pointed to the two spending packages passed by Congress last month that combined all 12 spending bills into two pieces of legislation, which were both passed under a suspension of rules. 

“That is why I will not tolerate our elected Republican Speaker Mike Johnson serving the Democrats and the Biden administration and helping them achieve their policies that are destroying our country,” Greene wrote. “He is throwing our own razor-thin majority into chaos by not serving his own GOP conference that elected him.”

She accused Johnson of “a complete and total surrender to, if not complete and total lockstep with, the Democrats’ agenda that has angered our Republican base so much and given them very little reason to vote for a Republican House majority.”

Johnson, for his part, has pushed back on the threat of a motion to vacate, telling Fox News last week he planned to speak with Greene before the House reconvened. It’s not clear when the two plan to meet, and CNN reported the planned meeting for Friday never happened. The Washington Examiner contacted a spokesperson for Johnson regarding the matter. 

It only takes one lawmaker to file a motion to vacate and force a vote on whether to oust the sitting speaker. That poses a math problem for Johnson as he faces a historically slim majority in the lower chamber that has only grown smaller with recent early retirements leaving four seats vacant. 

That means it could only take one or two Republicans to join Greene in removing Johnson, should all Democrats vote in favor of his ouster. However, it’s not clear whether there is an appetite to elect another speaker, and some have countered doing so would hand Democrats the opportunity to appoint Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) as speaker. 

Greene pushed back on that suggestion, arguing Republicans could maintain their small majority if they coalesced around a single candidate. 

“And no, electing a new Republican Speaker will not give the majority to the Democrats,” Greene said. “That only happens if more Republicans retire early, or Republicans actually vote for Hakeem Jeffries. It’s not complicated, it’s simple math.”

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The latest threat comes as the House is set to return on Tuesday, and lawmakers must once again face the question of what to do about providing aid to Ukraine as the country continues to ward off an invasion from Russia. Johnson said he plans to move forward with advancing some sort of aid package, although it remains unclear which path he will take to do so. 

Johnson is expected to meet with lawmakers throughout the week to discuss options for a funding bill as members on both sides of the aisle have disagreed on what measures to include in the legislation. However, Greene has remained adamant that Congress should not provide additional aid to Ukraine, indicating such a move could be the trigger to force a vote on his removal.

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