Speaker Johnson defends his leadership ahead of meeting with GOP’s Marjorie Taylor Greene

Written by on April 10, 2024

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(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker Mike Johnson on Wednesday defended his leadership strategy ahead of a meeting with fellow Republican Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, who has threatened to remove Johnson from his post.

It will be their first sit-down since Greene introduced a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair before the House broke for a two-week recess.

Asked about the upcoming meeting during a press conference alongside other House Republican leaders, Johnson said he and Greene are on the same team when it comes to Republican ideals.

“Marjorie and I don’t disagree, I think, on any matter of philosophy,” he said, calling her a colleague and a friend. “We’re both conservatives. But we do disagree sometimes on strategy with regard to what we put on the floor and when.”

Johnson noted Greene’s anger over the House passage of funding bills to avert a government shutdown, telling reporters he shared her frustration, but they are limited with a one-vote majority in the House and a Democrat-controlled Senate and White House.

“We are not going to get, because of that reality, we are not going to be able to do big transformational changes that we’d like, that we know are necessary,” Johnson said.

The speaker added, “We will never get 100% of what we want and believe is necessary for the country because that’s the reality. It’s a matter of math in the Congress.”

Greene criticized Johnson, laying out her point-by-point case in a letter to colleagues on Tuesday, knocking the Louisiana congressman for working with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown and pledging to act on providing more aid to Ukraine.

“This has been a complete and total surrender, if not complete and total lockstep with, the Democrats’ agenda that has angered the Republican base so much and given them very little reason to vote for a Republican House majority,” Greene wrote in the five-page letter.

Johnson pushed back Wednesday that he didn’t believe allowing the government to shut down was in the GOP’s political interests in trying to keep and expand their majority in the November elections.

“That would put a lot of pressure on the American people … at a very desperate time,” Johnson said of a possible shutdown.

“Nor does a motion to vacate help us in that regard either. It would be chaos in the House,” Johnson said. “So Marjorie and I are going to visit later today, and look forward to the conversation.”

Another point of contention for Greene and other hard-line Republicans is Johnson’s potential movement on Ukraine aid.

The Senate passed its own $95 billion national security supplemental bill in February that included assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, but Johnson has not brought it to the House floor for a vote.

In an interview with Fox News during recess, Johnson pledged to act on Ukraine aid when lawmakers returned to Washington.

But as of Wednesday, Johnson said details on a measure to provide assistance to Ukraine as Russia’s invasion rages on were still being worked out.

“On the supplemental, the House members are continuing to actively discuss our options on a path forward,” he said. “There are a lot of different ideas on that. It’s a very complicated matter at a very complicated time. The clock is ticking on it and everyone here feels the urgency of that, but what’s required is that you reach consensus on it and that’s what we’re working on.”

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