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Marjorie Taylor Greene keeps them guessing on Mike Johnson motion to vacate

Marjorie Taylor Greene keeps them guessing on Mike Johnson motion to vacate
Marjorie Taylor Greene keeps them guessing on Mike Johnson motion to vacate

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is happy to keep them guessing.

The Georgia hard-liner introduced her motion to oust Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) in March, framing it as a warning to GOP leaders ahead of explosive debates on government spying and aid to Ukraine.

Yet more than a month later, Greene has declined to force a vote on the resolution, even after Johnson helped to usher both of those bills into law over the howls of conservatives in his GOP conference.

And on Monday evening — after a weeklong recess during which she escalated her threats against the Speaker — Greene was a no-show at the only House votes of the day, raising only more questions about whether she intends to pull the trigger on her motion to vacate.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), one of just two other supporters of Greene’s vacate motion, said he spoke with Greene about the resolution over the break. But he’s also keeping his cards close to the vest, declining to disclose any details about when — or even if — the motion will come to the floor. 

“Of course I talked to my friends,” he told The Hill when asked if he spoke with Greene and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), the third Republican backing the ouster effort.

Pressed on whether they discussed the motion to vacate, Massie responded: “Yeah, we don’t talk about the weather.” But Massie also amplified his preference for resolving the clash: He wants Johnson to simply resign — an entreaty the Speaker has rejected outright. 

“He should [resign],” Massie said. “Ultimately he’s gonna have to decide whether he’s gonna be the uniparty Speaker or not.”

Yet despite the loud rhetoric and persistent vows, the delays and waffling from Greene and her two-man army are leading some to predict that the Georgia Republican will never move to force a vote on her resolution, letting the clock run out until the November elections.

“I don’t think it’s gonna come up,” Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), a frequent critic of GOP leadership, said Monday.

Greene’s team, however, is ferociously rejecting any notion that the congresswoman is backing down from her threats. Nick Dyer, Greene’s spokesperson, told Politico on Sunday night that “anyone who is saying she is backing down is high, drunk, or simply out of their mind.”

And Greene herself kept the anticipation in high gear Sunday afternoon, writing on the social platform X that Johnson’s “days as Speaker are numbered” — though she did not provide a more specific timeline.

As time passes, however, Greene’s potential pool of support is draining.

Crane, who told reporters earlier this month that he was “open” to supporting a motion to vacate, said Monday that while he has “left the door open,” the timing is not right for a conservative coup.

“One, I don’t think it’s good timing. Two, I don’t think — if it was triggered — I don’t think it would pass,” Crane said. “I’ve publicly said multiple times I think that the Democrats would keep Speaker Johnson, I think they would save him, so I don’t think it would pass. And furthermore, even if it did pass, I don’t have much confidence with the conference that we have that we could get a more conservative Speaker for the American people.”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), another Johnson critic, delivered a similar message, but also appeared to leave the door open to supporting Greene’s resolution. 

While Roy emphasized that he had not supported the ouster of Johnson’s predecessor, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — and that the main focus of Republicans should be on November’s elections — he also voiced his frustrations with Johnson’s leadership decisions, and warned that Republican voters share them.

“People are frustrated … They want us to unite, they want us to come together, but you’ve got to unite for purpose. And that purpose can’t be to continue to do the same old thing,” Roy told reporters outside the Capitol on Monday night. 

“Right now, we’re six months out, ish, from the election, and we need to focus on that. But we’ll see. There’s still a lot of work left to be done on [fiscal 2025] levels, on other issues — Farm Bill — other stuff. Let’s see what our priorities are.”

Johnson, for his part, has brushed off the looming ouster threat. Last week he told Fox News’s Jesse Watters, “I don’t think about her at all,” when asked about Greene.

And on Monday, asked if he had spoken to the Georgia Republican amid her removal effort, Johnson responded succinctly: “Nope.”

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