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Marjorie Taylor Greene
Republicans were mostly laughing off MTG’s latest effort to oust the speaker, with some saying she’s out on a limb and seeking attention. Carolyn Kaster/AP

Everyone Is Sick of Marjorie Taylor Greene

Greene has been on a media blitz making the case against Speaker Mike Johnson. One Republican called it “embarrassing.”

Few things unite the Republican conference these days, but irritation with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is bringing them together.

Greene has been ripping into House Speaker Mike Johnson for weeks and circulated a five-page letter this week laying out her case to oust him. Republicans on Tuesday were mostly laughing off the effort, with some saying she’s out on a limb and seeking attention.

“It’s embarrassing in many ways,” said Rep. Troy Nehls, a Texas Republican.

Greene hasn’t forced a vote on her motion to remove Johnson from power, and she said Tuesday she doesn’t have a clear timeline to do it. She hopes the Republican conference will have an internal discussion about who could serve in the role next before bringing the vote forward. “I don’t want it to be horribly painful or like it was the last time,” she said.

But she doesn’t even seem to have enough support among her colleagues to begin that conversation. Several GOP members told NOTUS they hadn’t yet read her letter against Johnson, and some said they didn’t plan to read it at all.

“It’s just another stupid thing while the rest of us try to work,” Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw told NOTUS.

Even some far-right members of the House Freedom Caucus — who want to slash government spending and block more military aid to Ukraine — don’t agree with all of Greene’s complaints about Johnson and point to the fact Republicans barely have a majority right now (they can lose only a couple members on a given vote if they want to pass anything without Democrats).

“He doesn’t have a choice because our conference right now, we can’t come together,” Nehls said of Johnson’s deals with Democrats to keep the government funded. “We’ve got the thin majority. You know all these things. You’re asking the question you can answer to yourself. It’s an impossible job.”

If those dynamics are so obvious to Nehls, why can’t Greene see them? “Everybody likes getting TV hits, all that other stuff,” Nehls answered. “If you identify a problem, have a solution to the problem. OK, if it’s not Mike, we went deep down the bench last time. Took three weeks.”

Rep. Tim Burchett, a Tennessee Republican who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy in October, told reporters he fears another speakership fight with such a thin majority would mean “we’re just going to elect Hakeem,” referring to Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. That’s not completely impossible: Democrats had a majority on the House floor on Monday night, with 15 Republican absences.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a conservative, told NOTUS he’s also skeptical of Greene’s effort. “I don’t think a third speaker in the same Congress is necessarily a good thing,” he said.

“Marjorie’s out there all by herself on this one,” Rep. Rick Allen, a Georgia Republican, added. He also suggested she’s violating the Ten Commandments with her claims against Johnson. “I mean, it’s in the top 10: bearing false witness. People need to be careful.”

Greene and Johnson met Wednesday for the first time since she introduced her measure to kick him out of leadership. Johnson told reporters beforehand that he considers Greene a friend and they “don’t disagree, I don’t think, on any matter of philosophy. We’re both conservatives. But we do disagree sometimes on strategy.”

With control of only one chamber, he added, “We are not going to do big, transformational changes that we’d like.”

“That’s the reality. It’s the math.”

Democratic lawmakers seem to have little appetite for helping Greene get rid of Johnson. He’s worked with them to accomplish the most basic functions of government and has emphasized to his conference that bipartisan collaboration is necessary in a divided Congress.

Rep. Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, said he “probably will” help Johnson avoid an ouster if it comes to the floor, although his decision would depend on how Democratic leaders decide to approach the situation.

“I don’t think the votes are anywhere near there,” he told NOTUS. “It’s basically just a Marjorie Taylor Greene thing and maybe a few other people.”

Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, said he would also consider helping Johnson. Democrats could make it easier for him to overcome a challenge by simply skipping the vote and reducing the number of votes he needs to succeed. They could also vote “present” or actively tank Greene’s motion. In October, Democrats backed Rep. Matt Gaetz’s move to oust McCarthy, pointing to his decision to rehabilitate Donald Trump after the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and his elevation of far-right Republicans to positions of power in Congress even as he relied on Democrats to do the most serious work of governing.

“It’s so much business that needs to be done,” Johnson of Georgia said. “The worst thing that we can do is just descend into rank politics.”

Some Democrats, meanwhile, indicated they’re trying to be strategic about their leverage.

“I’m open to considering what we need to do to potentially save Speaker Johnson if he’s willing to bring Ukraine funding to the floor,” Rep. Ro Khanna of California told NOTUS.

Rep. Derek Kilmer, too, pointed to foreign assistance: “There’s a very strong appetite on our side of the aisle to pass a security bill.”

It’s not the highest bar, considering Johnson has already said he plans to bring Ukraine aid to the floor for a vote in the coming days. It’s not clear what that bill will look like, though, and some of his own members see it as a red line.

We’ll see how this all unfolds,” Texas Rep. Chip Roy, who said he hasn’t decided on Greene’s effort, told NOTUS. “But I wouldn’t put Ukraine on the floor.”

Greene has found a way to be on an island on that issue, too, even though many of her colleagues also oppose more funding for the country as it defends itself against Russia.

“The Ukrainian government is attacking Christians,” she recently claimed on Steve Bannon’s show. “Russia is not doing that. They are not attacking Christianity. As a matter of fact, they seem to be protecting it.”

When asked if he agreed, Nehls audibly groaned. “I just — I just,” he replied. “I’m not a fan of [Vladimir] Putin. I think somebody should put something in his coffee and take him out. He’s a brutal dictator. He is.”

Why does Greene hold that view? “I don’t know,” he said. “Marjorie says all sorts of things. Each to their own, whatever they want to do. We’ve got a lot of interesting individuals up here, don’t we?”


Haley Byrd Wilt is a reporter at NOTUS. Ben T.N. Mause is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow. John T. Seward, a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow, contributed to this report.