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Speaker Johnson's meeting and joint presser with Trump could shield speaker from potential ouster

Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to appear with Johnson at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate Friday for an “election integrity” event and press conference.

Published: April 11, 2024 11:00pm

House Speaker Mike Johnson's meeting with former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate and subsequent election integrity event could be the beginning of an alliance that shields him from a possible ouster led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.

There will also reportedly be a joint news conference taking place at the event, marking Johnson's first public appearance with Trump since he was elected to the speakership in October 2023. The subject of Greene's threat to remove Johnson is likely to come up during the presser.

The event will reportedly center around proposed legislation designed to prevent non-citizens from voting in federal elections.

Greene filed a motion to vacate in March over Johnson's decision to put a $1.2 trillion spending package on the House floor for a vote, which passed with more votes from Democrats than Republicans. The spending bill also contained thousands of earmarks that distribute money to both Republican and Democratic districts.

A motion to vacate was used to oust former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., last year. The House went without a speaker for three weeks after McCarthy's removal. A senior GOP congressional source who declined to be identified said the conservative House Freedom Caucus and House Republican conference overall do not want to go through a similar process of finding a new speaker in an election year. 

Greene has also been outspoken about her opposition to Johnson's handling of Ukraine war funding as well as Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reauthorization. The rule to advance the bill failed on the House floor on Wednesday after Trump called on the GOP to “kill FISA” in a Truth Social post.

"How he [Johnson] handles the FISA process and how he handles funding Ukraine is going to tell our entire conference how to handle the motion to vacate," Greene said on Wednesday.

On FISA reauthorization, Greene wrote on X that she wants to see Johnson "allow for open rules and allow votes on ALL amendments" to the legislation on the House floor. "That’s a rule that he could actually get passed," Greene wrote.

McCarthy predicted on Tuesday that Johnson would not be ousted. "The Dems will never let it happen," McCarthy said during an event at Georgetown University. McCarthy noted that Greene's motion to vacate is different than the one Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., had filed, which led to McCarthy's ouster.

“What she’s doing is much different than what Matt Gaetz is doing. She didn’t make it privileged, so it’s not up for a vote,” McCarthy said during an interview this week. “And the one thing I’ve always found about Marjorie is she’s a very serious legislator that deals with policy. And the best way to deal with anyone like that is sit down and talk to them.”

Johnson said in a recent interview that he had attempted to contact Greene after she filed the motion, but she apparently said she "wasn't interested." Greene said her threat to oust Johnson stands despite the pair meeting face-to-face on Wednesday. 

“Right now he does not have my support and I’m watching what happens with FISA and Ukraine,” she said after the meeting on Capitol Hill.

The event taking place on Friday gives Trump, the 2024 GOP presidential nominee and leader of the party, a chance to influence the situation. 

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