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Marjorie Taylor Greene backs off threat to oust Johnson as speaker

Written by on May 7, 2024

Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene appeared on Tuesday to be backing off her threat to force a vote to oust Speaker Mike Johnson this week, though she signaled that she’ll preserve her threat indefinitely — keeping Johnson on a tight leash as he navigates a one-vote majority in the chamber.

The development comes after Greene and Johnson met on Tuesday afternoon — their second meeting in as many days. The meetings came after Greene said she would force a vote to remove Johnson from the leadership post this week.

“I will tell you one thing I did say in there: I am so done with words,” Greene told reporters on the House steps Tuesday afternoon after the meeting with Johnson. “For me, it is all about actions. And that is all the American people care about.”

Ahead of the meeting with Johnson on Tuesday, Greene shared her list of demands for the speaker. Her four requests included a return to the “Hastert Rule,” which means no legislation is brought to a vote without the support of the majority of the majority party; no more funding for Ukraine; defund the special counsel’s probe into former President Donald Trump; and avoid a government shutdown before the election by passing a continuing resolution to automatically enact a 1% spending cut.

Greene said she is not imposing a deadline for Johnson to comply with her four “suggestions.”

“These are not complicated things that we’re talking about, and having the majority of Republicans support for bills that are brought to the floor. Yeah, that’s very reasonable,” Greene said. “It’s really simple. It’s up to Mike Johnson to be our Republican speaker. And we’ll see what he does. And again, it’s actions for me.”

Greene said she did not provide the speaker with a specific timeline on the demands, but said “it’s pretty short.”

​​”That’s up to Mike Johnson and it can’t drag out,” she said. “These are things that have to be done.”

Republican Rep. Thomas Massie, Greene’s chief ally in the quest to oust Johnson, said the speaker has been open to the four demands, “but the question is what is he going to do to show that he is moving in that direction.”

At the weekly GOP news conference on Tuesday, Johnson didn’t rule out Greene’s request to defund the special counsel’s probe into Trump.

“We’re looking very intently at it because I think the problem has reached a crescendo,” Johnson said.

Johnson has already passed government funding, aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, and even a federal surveillance extension — meaning that the House is mostly void of must-pass legislation. That gives Johnson the space to advance other Republican-led efforts as the next appropriations battle nears.

Greene has criticized Johnson for working with Democrats on several of those pieces of legislation. Johnson has fought back, saying he’s a lifelong Republican, but must do his job to serve the entire House with an extremely thin Republican majority.

The Georgia congresswoman said last week she was moving ahead with her ouster effort despite pushback from many Republicans and a statement from Democrats that they would step in to help save Johnson. Trump has also weighed in on Greene’s move to oust Johnson.

Trump spoke privately to Greene over the weekend and urged her to drop her push to oust Johnson, a source close to the president confirmed to ABC News. During their discussion, Trump told Greene that the party needs to be unified, according to the source.

The former president’s team has mulled over how best to show support for Johnson. Trump brought Johnson on stage at the RNC spring retreat luncheon over the weekend and praised him “for his leadership and work in the US House,” emphasizing “the need for party unity, collaboration, and expanding the GOP’s House Majority,” according to the campaign.

ABC News’ Arthur Jones II and Sarah Beth Hensley contributed to this report.

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