© 2024 Allbritton Journalism Institute
Marjorie Taylor Greene, Thomas Massie
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Quest Against Mike Johnson Turns Into Hours of Meetings

The motion to vacate’s future is uncertain, with Greene and Rep. Thomas Massie in talks with the speaker.

Half an hour before she entered a meeting with Speaker Mike Johnson on Monday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called him “everything that is wrong with the Republican establishment in Washington.”

She left the meeting with him two hours later without giving any clarity on her wobbly plan to oust him, aside from saying they’ll talk more on Tuesday afternoon.

All she would tell reporters: “We have no new news to report at this time.”

Greene and Rep. Thomas Massie have spent weeks talking about their plot to boot Johnson, and Greene, in particular, has turned the plan into a major fundraising draw. But the path forward is shaky: Democrats said they’d bail Johnson out, and it’s not clear how many other Republicans would support the motion.

Johnson told reporters the meeting with the two members was “constructive” and that he understands their frustration: “I share it.”

The speaker also made a point of defending himself. “I would really like to advance much more of our conservative policy on a daily basis here, but the reality is we are working with the smallest majority in U.S. history with a one-vote margin,” he said.

Greene didn’t confirm when or if she’ll bring her motion to vacate to the floor — a move she earlier said would happen sometime this week.

Greene first announced she’d seek to oust Johnson in March but didn’t force a vote on the resolution, framing it as a warning for Johnson and the start of a longer process to find a new Republican leader behind closed doors rather than on the floor. When Massie joined her as a co-sponsor a month later, he also said the motion was primarily a way to pressure Johnson to step down on his own.

However, Johnson’s decision to allow a vote on a $95 billion national security supplemental with funding for Ukraine changed things for the pair.

Beyond Rep. Paul Gosar, Greene and Massie haven’t garnered more public support from the GOP conference. And when Democratic leadership announced last week that they would help Johnson stay in charge, it became clear the motion was destined for failure.

Former President Donald Trump has supported Johnson while he’s been under pressure. Johnson attended a fundraiser with him last Thursday. But Greene and Massie had insisted the motion should still be brought to the floor for a recorded vote.

Following the meeting, fellow conservatives said they wanted to stay focused on November.

“I don’t have any contact with the lady from Georgia,” House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good said, leaving the House after Monday evening votes.

“Honestly, the conference isn’t even talking about it,” Rep. Tim Burchett said.

Conference Vice Chair Blake Moore told NOTUS he’s “not giving it any attention.”

“I’m not trying to be flippant, I’m just emphasizing the point. The media doesn’t need to be focused so much on this. We feed this, we continue to feed this, when there’s other issues that are more important to the American people.”

Katherine Swartz and Ben T.N. Mause are NOTUS reporters and Allbritton Journalism Institute Fellows.