Marjorie Taylor Greene to call for vote on Speaker Johnson’s ouster next week

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress are blasting U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s desire to unseat House Speaker Mike Johnson, but the growing chorus of critics from her own party is having little impact on the Rome firebrand.

“I think a motion to vacate is the worst thing you could do right now,” said U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-St. Simons Island. “I disagreed with it in October.”

In an interview that will air Wednesday on NewsNation’s “The Hill,” Johnson downplayed Greene’s influence in Congress.

Asked whether he considered her a “serious lawmaker,” he replied: “I don’t think she is proving to be, no.”

But during a news conference Wednesday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Greene vowed to bring forward her motion to vacate.

At times angry and cursing, Greene said Johnson is a weak leader who has allowed the Democratic Party’s agenda to prevail. And she said all members of the U.S. House should be forced to cast votes publicly on whether he should continue as leader.

“I think every member of Congress needs to take that vote and let the chips fall where they may,” Greene said. “And so, next week I am going to be calling this motion to vacate.”

For more than a month, Greene’s motion to vacate resolution has hung over Johnson’s head. She filed the paperwork on March 22, but she did not immediately call for a vote, reserving the right to do so at any time.

So far, only two fellow conservatives have said they support Greene’s efforts to oust Johnson, a Louisiana Republican. If most Republicans and Democrats oppose Greene’s motion to vacate or move to quash her efforts, it will fail.

Many rank-and-file GOP lawmakers have said they are unwilling to create another speakership vacancy, recalling the weeks of chaos and uncertainty created when conservatives voted with Democrats to remove Kevin McCarthy from the job in October.

Former President Donald Trump has also stood behind Johnson. The two met at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, and in a joint appearance, the former president said Johnson is “doing a very good job” and “I stand with the speaker.”

While Greene said she remains an ally of Trump’s and is in close contact, the former president has mildly criticized her efforts to oust Johnson as unnecessary and a distraction. But he has not publicly indicated any rift with Greene, one of his most prominent and vocal supporters in Congress.

Serving as the catalyst for Greene’s announcement was a declaration by House Democratic leaders on Tuesday that they would help protect Johnson.

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York and his top two deputies, Massachusetts’ Katherine Clark and California’s Pete Aguilar, issued a joint statement Tuesday stating their position and indicating many other members of their party agree.

“We will vote to table Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Motion to Vacate the Chair,” the trio wrote. “If she invokes the motion, it will not succeed.”

That announcement only seemed to embolden Greene and Kentucky U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, who is one of two co-sponsors of the resolution. The two huddled on the House floor Tuesday afternoon, then met briefly with someone in the House parliamentarian’s office.

During Wednesday’s news conference, their backdrop was large prints of photos of Jeffries handing the gavel to Johnson when he was elected speaker in October and the embrace that followed.

Massie and Greene both said that government funding and foreign aid legislation Johnson passed in the House with the help of Democrats showed he lost his way and was out of step with conservative voters. And they said they are giving their colleagues the weekend to think over how they will vote on whether Johnson should remain the House GOP leader.

While the two lawmakers also said Johnson could avoid such a vote if he resigned from his post before then, he has said repeatedly he will not do so.

Now, Greene faces the potential of not just defeat on the House floor but a hugely lopsided one. And she runs the risk of further alienating herself from fellow House Republicans who have had to defend her from problematic comments and far-right white Christian nationalist rhetoric over the years.

Greene soured on Johnson’s speakership early in his tenure and has voted against nearly every major piece of legislation he has brought to the floor.

She said Wednesday that conservative voters are on her side and they want to see where other Republicans stand.

”If anyone is scared of how they’re going to vote on a motion to table or if it goes further, then they don’t belong here in Washington,” she said. “They have to be ready to do the hard job.”