Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Turmoil in the House: Greene Demands Vote on Removing Speaker Johnson Next Week

Hakeem Jeffries spearheads bipartisan effort to block Greene's efforts to remove Mike Johnson as Speaker.

Marjorie Taylor Greene
Photo: Gage Skidmore

In a move that exemplifies the Republican Party’s inability to govern without controversy, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has once again declared her intention to force a vote to remove Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) from his position next week. This renewed effort by the far-right congresswoman, known for her conspiracy theories about Jewish space lasers and inflammatory rhetoric, threatens to plunge the House into yet another cycle of chaos and disarray.

Greene’s announcement comes just days after House Democrats pledged to rescue Johnson from her motion to vacate, signaling a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation in an increasingly polarized political landscape. The Democratic leadership’s decision to back the embattled speaker comes after Mike Johnson worked with Democrats and the White House to pass a consequential aid package for Ukraine.

Speaker Johnson Condemns Greene

Mike Johnson Ukraine
Photo: Gage Skidmore

Dismissing Greene’s antics, Speaker Johnson swiftly condemned her motion as “wrong for the Republican Conference, wrong for the institution, and wrong for the country.” Prior to her announcement, Johnson had already escalated his rebuke of the congresswoman. 

While still referring to her as “a friend,” Johnson made clear in a NewsNation interview that he views Greene as an unserious lawmaker, deploying the common Southern insult “Bless her heart” to underscore his disdain. Johnson insisted he doesn’t “spend a lot of time thinking about her” and plans to simply “do the right thing” rather than indulge her disruptive ploys, positioning himself as the adult in the room focused on governing.

At a fiery press conference on Wednesday, Greene, donning a red MAGA hat, launched a vulgar attack on Johnson, accusing him of betraying the Republican Party and catering to Democratic interests. “Mike Johnson is not capable of that job. He has proven it over and over again,” she proclaimed, citing his support for government funding bills, aid to Ukraine, and the reauthorization of the FISA surveillance program as evidence of his alleged betrayal.

 “I can’t wait to see Democrats go out and support a Republican speaker,” Greene taunted. 

Democrats Vow to Block Greene’s Efforts

Hakeem Jeffries
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Photo: Brookings Institution

Greene’s latest ploy to overthrow the speaker came a day after Democratic leaders such as Hakeem Jeffries took the extraordinary step of pledging to block her destabilizing efforts. In a forceful statement, they vowed to “aggressively push back against MAGA extremism” like Greene’s, calling her a tool of “pro-Putin Republican obstructionism.” Democrats made it clear that they will block Greene’s motion to vacate, framing it as an unacceptable attack on bipartisan cooperation and a return to governing norms after national security priorities were addressed.

Greene’s contempt for Johnson’s bipartisan approach is a disturbing reflection of the Republican Party’s descent into an uncompromising, ultra-conservative faction that values ideological purity over effective governance. Her rhetoric echoes the divisive and inflammatory language that has become all too common among the party’s far-right wing, fueled by the legacy of the Trump presidency.

Of particular concern is Greene’s apparent prioritization of political grandstanding over substantive policymaking. In a stunning display of hypocrisy, she proudly brandished a poster depicting Johnson and Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) passing the speaker’s gavel, accompanied by a hat emblazoned with the slogan “Make Ukraine Great Again”—a callous mockery of the ongoing conflict and a thinly veiled appeal to pro-Russian sentiments.

Greene’s actions and the mere existence pro-Putin wing of the Republican Party are deeply troubling, especially in light of the extensive evidence of Russian interference in American politics and the party’s cozy relationship with the NRA, an organization suspected of serving as a conduit for Russian money and influence. Her willingness to undermine American support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression raises serious questions about her loyalty to the nation’s interests and her commitment to upholding democratic values.

Moreover, Greene’s obsession with sabotaging Johnson’s speakership is a stark reminder of the Republican Party’s inability to govern effectively. Since regaining control of the House in 2022, the GOP has been mired in a seemingly endless cycle of internal conflicts and near-government shutdowns, a far cry from the stability and progress achieved during the Democrats’ tenure in the majority from 2020 to 2022.

It is worth noting that Greene’s crusade against Johnson has garnered little support within her own party so far, with only Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) publicly backing her motion. Even former President Donald Trump, a key figure in the Republican party’s rightward shift, has endorsed Johnson’s speakership, further underscoring the fringe nature of Greene’s efforts.

Despite her claims of widespread discontent among Republican voters, the reality is that Greene’s agenda is out of touch with the needs and desires of the vast majority of the American people. Her obsession with ideological purity and her willingness to sacrifice effective governance for political theater that only benefits herself are indicative of a party that has lost its way, prioritizing personal ambitions and the settling of personal scores over the well-being of the nation.