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Marjorie Taylor Greene says Republican Party is ‘so desperate’

By Jake Beardslee · January 21, 2024

In brief…

  • Johnson's speakership remains precarious amid GOP infighting
  • Johnson became speaker after McCarthy's removal, but now faces discontent
  • Hardliners like Greene challenge Johnson over issues like Ukraine aid
  • Johnson said he's not worried about opposition, but questions persist on his viability
Greene said the party is "desperate" in retaining Johnson as speaker.  Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America/Wikimedia

House Speaker Mike Johnson’s hold on power remains precarious, with Republican infighting threatening his tenure as the GOP’s top member in the chamber. Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, was voted in as speaker last October after the dramatic removal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the role. But Johnson now faces discontent from conservative hardliners like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who said this week the party is “desperate” in retaining Johnson’s speakership.

In an interview with Politico published Sunday, Greene said Johnson is not safe in the position, stating bluntly that “the only reason he’s speaker is because our conference is so desperate.” Johnson became speaker after more prominent GOP names like Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Steve Scalise (La.) failed to unite the divided Republican caucus. While Johnson has held the gavel for months, his performance has prompted rising criticism within the party. There are now whispers that he may not survive a full term, according to Politico.

Greene has threatened to file a motion to remove Johnson if he does not satisfy demands from her wing of House conservatives. This includes opposing further aid to Ukraine amid its war with Russia, with Greene arguing the money should instead go to domestic priorities like border security. On CNN Wednesday, Johnson insisted he was not worried about Greene’s claims, though he acknowledged the congresswoman’s vocal opposition to Ukraine assistance bills.

Johnson said, “We have to do our job. We have to continue to ensure that we’re covering all these bases and we’ll see how this all shakes out.” But his assurances did little to quell questions about his viability as speaker, with the GOP’s internal strife once again challenging the position months after McCarthy’s downfall.