Mike Johnson overcomes surprise vote for his removal triggered by Marjorie Taylor Greene

 May 8, 2024

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) survived a surprise removal vote Wednesday as Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) followed through on weeks of threats to remove him over his close cooperation with Democrats.

The House voted overwhelmingly to table Greene's motion, but 11 Republicans voted to advance it and 32 Democrats did the same. The final tally was 359-43.

Greene's move blindsided Republicans and came despite opposition from President Trump, who said it was not the right time to be showing "disunity."

Johnson removal vote fails

Greene accused Johnson of helping Democrats destroy America in a speech on the House floor. Speaking over loud boos, she described those defending Johnson as members of the "uniparty" establishment.

"By passing the Democrats' agenda and handcuffing the Republicans' ability and influence legislation, our elected Republican Speaker Mike Johnson has aided and abetted the Democrats and the Biden administration in destroying our country," she added.

In the days ahead of the vote, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-Ny.) had pledged his support to Johnson over his help with passing aid to Ukraine.

Jeffries welcomed Greene's surprise vote as an example of Republican "extremism," a theme Jeffries and Democrats have been hitting on the campaign trail.

"Our decision to stop Marjorie Taylor Greene, from plunging the House of Representatives and the country into further chaos is rooted in our commitment to solve problems for everyday Americans in a bipartisan manner," he said.

Still, more Democrats voted to remove Johnson than Republicans did - a surprising development for the usually unified Democrats.

Trump says 'not the time'

President Trump criticized the push in a social media post, which began by noting, "I absolutely love Marjorie Taylor Greene."

The presumptive Republican nominee for president, Trump is eager to unify the party ahead of a high-stakes election. Greene is one of his most vocal backers in Congress.

"If we show DISUNITY, which will be portrayed as CHAOS, it will negatively affect everything!" Trump wrote.

Greene had appeared to back off her removal threats after meeting with Johnson to discuss business on Monday and Tuesday, although the Speaker downplayed the substance of those discussions.

After surviving the vote Wednesday, Johnson said he hoped Congress would begin to turn the page on "personality politics and the frivolous character assassination that has defined the 118th Congress".

"I'm glad that this distraction is not going to inhibit that important work and all the other things that are on the table and on the agenda for us right now," he said.

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