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Marjorie Taylor Greene
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has said she’ll force a vote on her motion to remove Speaker Mike Johnson this week — but when? J. Scott Applewhite/AP

‘You Got Played’: Republicans Blame the Media for Marjorie Taylor Greene Furor

“If media coverage is power, she’s a pretty powerful person in Washington right now,” one Georgia GOP aide told NOTUS.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s will-she-won’t-she effort to force a vote to oust Speaker Mike Johnson will continue another day. And as long as she’s got the eyes — and cameras — of the Capitol on her, some think there’s no end in sight.

“The longer y’all keep talking about it, the longer this thing will go,” Rep. Tim Burchett told reporters Monday.

Greene promised a vote on a motion to vacate Johnson this week, seven weeks after she first introduced it. That didn’t come on Monday, despite a two-hour meeting with the speaker that ended with no resolution. It didn’t happen Tuesday, either, after she and co-sponsor Rep. Thomas Massie had a second extended meeting with the speaker.

“You got played,” Burchett said Tuesday.

Instead, Greene has gotten a whole lot of publicity. She was flanked by dozens of members of the press leaving votes, all to say she had no new updates to share. Every meeting and every planned phone call between Greene and Johnson has become a story in itself.

“The press corps have convinced themselves they must cover every finite development, despite everyone covering it knowing they’re willful participants in furthering her brand,” a House leadership GOP aide told NOTUS. “It’s a self-repeating paradox.”

Fellow Georgia Rep. Rich McCormick said the media is “absolutely” doing what MTG wants with its intense, every-moment coverage of the situation.

“Everybody sees it,” he said. “If you reward that behavior, by the way, what happens is, ‘If she gets something out of it, why don’t I do it next time? Make me a promise.’”

For his part, Johnson brushes off the meetings as an ordinary part of his job.

“Everybody knows I have lengthy discussions, detailed discussions on a daily basis with members across the conference; there are 217 of us,” Johnson said at a press conference Tuesday morning. “It takes a lot of time. This is why I don’t get enough sleep these days.”

“I take Marjorie’s ideas and Thomas’ and everybody else’s equally, and we assess them on their own value, and where we can make improvements and changes, and all of that we do. That’s what this is; there’s nothing more than that going on,” he continued.

Greene has a few demands for Johnson. She wants him to take up 12 individual appropriations bills, defund Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump, and obey the Hastert rule, an informal tradition where leaders only bring up a bill if it has a majority of the majority party’s support. She pointed to the national security supplemental for Ukraine, which most Republicans opposed.

“She brings up some very valid issues. We all have concerns with Speaker Johnson and what he’s doing. But the question is, we identified the issues, but what’s the solution?” Rep. Troy Nehls said of Greene’s demands.

Nehls said Greene’s effort was more about getting personal attention than pushing the conservative agenda forward.

“If you go to the CNN website, it shows a picture of her every day, so it’s making news. It’s been talked about for months, and it hasn’t been offered,” he said. “So why don’t we just move on?”

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Fellow Georgia GOP Rep. Rick Allen pointed to Greene’s huge fundraising haul since launching the motion to vacate in March as an incentive for her to draw out the process longer.

“Here’s the deal too: They raise a lot of money on this. But are they really telling their people the truth?” he said. “That they can actually stand up for something here? We surely can’t do it if we’re in the minority.”

“If we lose in November, and she gets the blame for it — I don’t know that she will ever overcome voting like that,” he said.

One Georgia GOP aide described Greene’s weekslong delay on the vote as a “positive feedback loop” for her: The longer she delays, the more attention she gets.

“MTG is taking the press attention as a sign that she is doing something right, which in turn makes her dig her heels in even more. It also energizes her base, which energizes her, which leads to more media attention,” the aide said.

“I do believe that MTG is milking as much press out of this as she can, hence the delay,” they continued. “If media coverage is power, she’s a pretty powerful person in Washington right now.”

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