Keep Johnson as speaker: Marjorie Taylor Greene must not succeed in knocking him out

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) holds up a hat that says "MUGA" or "Make Ukraine Great Again" as she speaks at a news conference alongside Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) at the U.S. Capitol Building on May 01, 2024 in Washington, DC. During the news conference Greene announced she would move forward with her motion to vacate U.S. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA). (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/TNS)

There will be a vote to remove Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson this week and it will fail thanks to Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. It’s not that Jeffries doesn’t want to become speaker himself, but that will be decided by the American people six months from today, on Election Day, when all 435 seats are being contested.

Control of the gavel should not be decided by wacko Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is pushing to topple Johnson because he actually did the correct and responsible thing. What the speaker did right was bringing to the floor an aid package for besieged Ukraine against the wishes of the isolationist wing of his own Republican conference.


Shamefully, the majority of his party colleagues voted no. The $60.8 billion for Ukraine passed two weeks ago relying on Democratic votes. Among Republicans, 53% of them voted no. Putin hasn’t conquered Kyiv, but he has captured the House Republicans.

Greene, who is more MAGA-crazed than Donald Trump himself and sees hero Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the villain, wants Johnson out because of that.

On March 22, incensed as Johnson edged closer to allowing the Ukraine bill to come to the floor after the Democrats began collecting signatures for a discharge petition to force the Ukraine measure to the floor, she filed her own short motion, H.Res.1103, saying “Resolved, That the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives is hereby declared to be vacant.” It is the same 17 words that were used to topple the previous Republican speaker, Kevin McCarthy.

Winding back to last fall, McCarthy’s downfall started when he reasonably cut a deal with President Biden and Senate Democrats to keep the government funded on Sept. 30. It passed the House with 58% of the GOP on the bill, but still had to have Democratic votes to get the necessary two-thirds. So even though he had the backing of most of his conference, needing the Democrats was an anathema to the hardest core radicals.

McCarthy foe Matt Gaetz, who insisted when McCarthy first squeaked into power on the 15th vote that a single member be allowed to make a motion to vacate the chair, pushed the button on Oct. 3.

McCarthy’s allies tried to table the matter, but 11 in his own party sided with the Democrats to let it advance. Then on the motion to vacate, Gaetz was joined by seven others. It only needed six defectors, so eight was plenty and McCarthy was ousted.

Greene supported McCarthy throughout, so she wasn’t in on the fun. But this it’s all her doing. Johnson correctly ignored Greene’s threats and moved ahead on Ukraine. She added isolationist Thomas Massie on April 16 and kook Paul Gosar on April 19. But Johnson stood firm and the House voted the next day, April 20, to aid Ukraine. It was Hitler’s birthday, an earlier invader of Ukraine.

There are 217 Republicans and 212 Democrats (soon to be 213 when Tim Kennedy from Buffalo is seated). Having Greene and her two allies would be enough to overthrow Johnson if all the Democrats joined. But that won’t happen. Tom Suozzi was the first to say no and now so has Jeffries and his leadership team. They are not supporting Johnson, but opposing Greene. Good for them.