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Trump ally Marjorie Taylor Greene sparks new trouble for House Speaker Johnson

By Jake Beardslee · December 30, 2023

In brief…

  • Greene forced divisive votes on censuring a Democrat and impeaching a Biden official, exposing GOP splits.
  • After toning down criticism under McCarthy, Greene says Johnson's "honeymoon is over" and must earn her trust.
  • With a slim GOP majority, Greene's vocal opposition makes unifying the conference harder for Johnson.
Conservative Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has resumed aggressive tactics in challenging new House Speaker Mike Johnson, complicating his efforts to unify the slim GOP majority.  Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America/Wikimedia

Newly elected Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) faces challenges early in his term from conservative firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has revived her rabble-rousing tactics after a period of measured support for former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

In an interview with The Hill, Greene sharply criticized Johnson’s leadership so far, stating “He went from having a voting record to literally a month later…going against his own voting record and being Speaker of the House. Literally all of a sudden talking about doing things that he had literally voted against only a month before that. And, you know, that was unacceptable to me, and it still is.”

Greene has opposed Johnson’s strategy on issues like government funding, Ukraine aid, and the annual defense bill. She forced divisive votes on censuring Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, exposing GOP divisions. Greene publicly clashed with Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) over their opposition to her procedural moves.

After supporting McCarthy’s bid for Speaker, Greene had toned down her criticism of leadership. But with the new Speaker, she said “the honeymoon’s over” and Johnson must “earn” her trust through actions. Greene stated she would like to help Johnson be successful but so far cannot support his decisions.

With Republicans holding a slim three-seat majority, Greene’s vocal opposition creates hurdles for Johnson as he tries to unify the conference on tough legislative choices. Some GOP lawmakers have called Greene’s public spats counterproductive.