US House quickly defeats Marjorie Taylor Greene’s effort to oust Speaker Mike Johnson

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday quickly defeated an effort by firebrand Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene to remove fellow Republican Speaker Mike Johnson from his leadership role.

Democrats joined Republicans in a 359-43 vote to protect Johnson’s speakership, in a bid to avoid a replay of the chaos that followed in October when Republicans ousted his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy.

Greene’s move represented a rare Republican defiance of presidential candidate Donald Trump, who had voiced support for Johnson and called the drive to oust him “unfortunate”.

Standing flanked by fellow Republican Thomas Massie, Greene criticised Johnson for a string of compromises with Democrats, who hold a majority in the Senate.

US congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and congressman Thomas Massie speak to members of the media outside the US Capitol on Tuesday. Photo: Bloomberg

“Excuses like ‘this is just how you have to govern in divided government’ are pathetic, weak and unacceptable,” Greene said of Johnson. “Even with our razor-thin Republican majority we could have at least secured the border.”

But the chamber erupted in taunts and cheers at points as Greene read her resolution, with Democrats at times chanting “Hakeem, Hakeem”, a reference to their party leader Hakeem Jeffries, in an echo of the many times they voted for him as speaker during Republicans’ multiple rounds of voting for speaker since the current House was seated in January 2021.

Johnson has angered many hardliners within his razor-thin 217-213 Republican majority this year, by enacting bipartisan spending measures to avoid government shutdowns and aid US allies including Ukraine, without insisting on strict security measures for the US-Mexico border that Democrats reject.

Johnson could be seen walking around the House floor after Greene began her call on Wednesday for his ousting, with Republican supporters shaking his hand and patting him on the back.

The situation has bolstered Jeffries, who agreed to save Johnson from removal after freeing Congress from the roadblock of Republican infighting by delivering crucial Democratic support for must-pass bills.

Greene’s bid to seek retribution by unseating the speaker with a “motion to vacate” won support from only two other members of her party: Massie and congressman Paul Gosar.



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