Johnson to meet with Trump at Mar-a-Lago amid threat to speakership

House Speaker Mike Johnson is heading to former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort for a joint appearance on Friday as he tries to shore up conservative support and fend off a threat to his speakership led by GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

Greene has threatened to force a vote to oust Johnson over government spending and aid to Ukraine, although no other House Republicans have signed on to the effort. Johnson was narrowly elected after multiple other candidates failed to secure the gavel last year, and Republicans have an even narrower margin in the House now. A single member can force a vote to oust a speaker, a rule former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to in order to capture his short-lived speakership.

Johnson and Trump are set to deliver remarks Friday afternoon from Mar-a-Lago about “election integrity.” Trump continues to falsely claim that he lost the 2020 election due to voter fraud.

House Speaker Mike Johnson looks on after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addressed a joint meeting of Congress at the Capitol on April 11, 2024.
House Speaker Mike Johnson looks on after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addressed a joint meeting of Congress at the Capitol on April 11, 2024.

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden campaign released a statement from Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, calling Trump “a threat to our democracy and a danger to our Constitution.”

“Donald Trump and Mike Johnson don’t care about election integrity — they care only about helping Trump’s campaign of revenge and retribution to regain power at all costs,” Thompson said.

Back in Washington, Greene has not said when she might force a vote on Johnson’s removal. Her opposition comes as Johnson faces mounting pressure to call a vote on approving more aid for Ukraine, something Greene strongly opposes. Greene renewed her threat in a letter this week.

Johnson told the Christian Broadcasting Network earlier this week that he doesn’t “harbor any ill will towards Marjorie,” but said a stalemate in Congress is counterproductive to the Republican Party and Trump’s chances in 2024. The House ground to a halt for weeks after McCarthy’s ouster in the fall.

“We’ve got to demonstrate the American people that we can keep the train on the tracks,” he told CBN. “And so pulling a motion to vacate, removing the speaker right now is exactly the opposite of what we need to show the country. We can’t close the Congress down, because that’s what will happen. They will blame us. And so it would hurt our chances of growing the majority, or our party or President Trump’s chances for his election because all of our fates in, in some sense, are tied together.”

Johnson’s venture to Mar-a-Lago is reminiscent of McCarthy’s visit to Mar-a-Lago weeks after Trump supporters assaulted the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, endangering members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence. McCarthy initially blamed Trump for the riot, but needed Trump’s support to eventually become speaker.

Caitlin Yilek contributed to this report.

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