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House Speaker Mike Johnson doesn’t have as long-standing a relationship with Donald Trump as past party leaders have had, House Republicans say. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Republicans Hope Mike Johnson’s Meeting With Trump Can Prevent Future Surprises

“I support the speaker sitting down with the president, saying, ‘This is our agenda, what are your positions on those so that we know,’” one House Republican said.

Still reeling from a string of chaotic losses on the House floor, Republicans hope Speaker Mike Johnson’s planned meeting with Donald Trump will help prevent any unnecessary turmoil for the conference down the line.

“Things are so dynamic in the House, it’s hard to be in lockstep, and things are changing by the moment here, so it’s a little easier for the [former] president to be in a policy position, but sometimes what he’s talking about is not what we’re doing in the House,” said Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern.

“I support the speaker sitting down with the president, saying, ‘This is our agenda, what are your positions on those so that we know,’” he said.

Johnson and Trump’s policy disagreements were on full display this week. The former president called on Congress to “KILL FISA” just hours before the House was scheduled to move forward on reauthorizing the spying powers. Trump has no doubt complicated negotiations around Ukraine aid, and he came out saying he wouldn’t sign a federal ban on abortion, further confusing Republicans’ message on the issue.

“This particular speaker probably doesn’t have the type of relationship that the previous one did with Trump,” Rep. Stephanie Bice told NOTUS. “Having the opportunity to sit down and have those conversations is probably a really good thing and quite helpful.”

A vocal faction of the House Republican conference believes it should still be Trump — not Johnson — setting the tone in Congress.

“The fact is that Donald Trump is the leader of our party, and I want him to be as engaged as possible, he and his team,” Florida Rep. Brian Mast said. “I want him to be a part of that conversation with any policy that’s going on here because it’s likely policy that he, as an executive branch, will be dealing with very directly.”

“[Trump] is the leader of the party. He shouldn’t have to rethink what he thinks is best based on what members think,” Florida Rep. Byron Donalds said.

Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise told NOTUS that the meeting between Johnson and Trump was scheduled before Thursday’s failed FISA rule vote. He said the meeting is about a broader show of unity between the two in the months leading up to the Republican convention in July.

“You’re gonna see more shows of unity leading up to the convention,” Scalise said. “I mean, the convention itself is usually the culminating show of unity to start off the campaign in the most formal way, but I mean, leading up to that, I think you’ve seen President Trump do more things to consolidate the Republican Party.”

Notably, with the two at odds on major policies in the House, Trump and Johnson are showing unity over so-called election security: On Friday, the two are expected to promote a new bill aimed at preventing noncitizens from voting in federal elections, USA Today reported — something the conservative Heritage Foundation found only happened in 24 instances between 2003 and 2023.

Members insist that Johnson and Trump bridging the gap on any disagreements will impact the party for the rest of the year.

“I hope that they’re building a good relationship,” Rep. Buddy Carter told NOTUS. “They’re gonna need it. And we’re gonna need it too.”


Katherine Swartz and Calen Razor are NOTUS reporters and Allbritton Journalism Institute fellows.