Navigating Political Turmoil: Inside the Fight for House Speaker Position

Political Turmoil: Following a right-wing member's challenge to his speech, Mike Johnson engaged in strategic discussions with an unlikely ally: firebrand GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of , who had previously led an effort to oust the speaker.

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson (Image source: Twitter)

According to sources, Gaetz gave advice to the rookie speaker during a recent telephonic exchange, demonstrating his clear support for Johnson and a possible motion to remove him from the speakership should a conservative win in the coming weeks. Advised to acquire. Got acquainted with their dialogue.

“I shared some uninvited counsel with the speaker, emphasizing the necessity to adopt a confrontational stance. I was gratified by the speaker's reception of my advice,” confirmed Gaetz in an interview with CNN. “The speaker is determined to notch victories for House Republicans, and we must commence doing so. I commend the speaker for not capitulating to the $95 billion Ukraine supplemental bill passed by the Senate, and I believe he is pursuing a more prudent approach to that issue as we speak.”

As the speaker, Johnson possesses an array of strategies to mollify the discontent within his right-wing faction, incensed by the recent bipartisan spending agreement he advanced in the House. However, Johnson's retention of the speaker's gavel may hinge on his handling of the forthcoming contentious policy issue: funding for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

When queried about reconsidering his support for Johnson if the speaker introduces a Ukraine bill lacking spending offsets, Gaetz remarked, “We would be greatly disappointed if there were no offsets. We must refrain from deficit spending to aid Ukraine. Additionally, we must prioritize securing our borders. I believe Speaker Johnson shares this perspective.”

Although GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia formally initiated a motion to remove Johnson before the recess, she has yet to take the necessary steps to trigger a floor vote on the resolution, effectively keeping the threat in abeyance for now. Allies of Johnson doubt Greene's intent to follow through, and even if she does, they anticipate scant support from either side of the aisle for such a maneuver.

Johnson publicly addressed Greene's endeavor to oust him from the speakership for the first time on Sunday, characterizing it as a “distraction from our mission,” and expressing his intention to meet with her early in the week.

“My colleagues recognize that this is diverting our focus from our mission, which is to preserve the republic,” Johnson asserted on Fox News.

Marjorie Taylor
Marjorie Taylor (Image source: Twitter)

“Marjorie is a friend,” Johnson added, revealing that he and Greene had exchanged text messages as recently as Sunday.

“She's quite frustrated about, for instance, the latest appropriations bills. And you know what? So am I. These bills aren't crafted to the standard that Marjorie and I would aspire to if we had the liberty to do so differently,” Johnson remarked.

However, given the dwindling majority in the House, Greene's unpredictable demeanor, and the abrupt ousting of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Johnson cannot afford to leave anything to chance. Individuals who have conversed with the speaker in recent days indicate his acute awareness of the looming motion to remove him as he deliberates crucial decisions regarding Ukraine aid, which could profoundly impact his political trajectory, whether in the short or long term. Throughout the Easter recess, Johnson has been quietly collaborating with key allies to devise a strategy regarding Ukraine.

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“He must bolster support after the debacle with the budget,” remarked one GOP legislator who was disillusioned by the spending package. “It was a regrettable agreement.”

Democrats are signaling their willingness to support Johnson if he advances a Ukraine bill they find acceptable. However, if he proposes a bill that falls short of their expectations or includes new restrictions, he risks alienating both Democrats and conservative Republicans who oppose allocating additional funds to Ukraine. Furthermore, incorporating spending cuts to offset the Ukraine package, as advocated by Gaetz and other hardliners, would provoke staunch opposition from Democrats.

“My advice to Mike is to commence with addressing the concerns of the American people and proceed from there. Let's not initiate from Ukraine and progress linearly,” suggested GOP Rep. Chip Roy of , who disclosed ongoing communication with the speaker and his team.

Roy, a vocal critic of the bipartisan spending legislation, declined to divulge whether he would support Greene's endeavor to depose Johnson.

“At present, our priority is to unite Republicans and highlight the detrimental actions of our radical progressive Democrat counterparts, while presenting a viable alternative vision,” he stated.

In the meantime, Greene is formulating her strategy, collaborating with a select group of allies to gauge their positions, according to a legislator familiar with the discussions.

“People are deliberating over it,” the legislator remarked.

On the day Greene filed her motion against Johnson, GOP Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky indicated that Greene is in no hurry to act.

“Presumably, we can now commence the search for a replacement while continuing our investigations and regular proceedings,” Massie remarked to CNN last week.

However, he declined to state his stance on ousting Johnson: “There's no benefit to me in answering that question.”

While Greene has publicly criticized the speaker on social media in recent days, insiders suggest she is keeping her actual intentions close to the vest, confiding only in a handful of trusted allies.

Doubts among hardliners about ousting Johnson

As Greene and her allies gradually reach out to their colleagues, prominent members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, including those supportive of McCarthy's removal, are not indicating the same inclination to depose Johnson.

GOP Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, who chairs the conservative group and was among the eight Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy, dismissed Greene's influence, stating, “Marjorie Taylor Greene's opinions carry no weight. She's a lone voice seeking attention.”

Good declined to reveal whether he would support a vote to oust Johnson, although he remarked, “I cannot defend the actions that have been taken, which parallel the former speaker's.”

Asked if Johnson should be ousted, Good responded, “I have no comment on that. However, I believe my silence speaks volumes.”

Other hardliners are opposed to removing Johnson.

“I believe now is not the time to subject America to another leadership battle in the House,” asserted GOP Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina. “Therefore, I will not support the motion to vacate the speaker if and when it comes to a vote on the House floor.”

While many Republicans are standing behind Johnson for now, they caution that his handling of Ukraine aid upon the House's return in April could be pivotal in determining their continued support.

GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia expressed skepticism about Greene's threat to Johnson's tenure but cautioned, “Our priority should be securing our borders before considering assistance to another nation.”

Some are apprehensive that another speaker showdown could result in a coalition with Democrats, potentially propelling House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries into the speakership, given the narrow margins in the House and growing Republican frustrations. Several GOP lawmakers conveyed this concern directly to Greene on the House floor in an attempt to dissuade her from pursuing her resolution to oust Johnson, sources informed CNN.

“The last time I initiated a motion to vacate, I could assure the nation that we would not end up with a Democrat speaker of the House, and I delivered on that

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