Honeymoon’s Over: Republicans Threaten to Oust Mike Johnson for Trying to Avoid Shutdown

Johnson is standing by a budget deal he made with Dems to prevent a shutdown. Republicans—who famously love a good ousting—are out for blood.

Honeymoon’s Over: Republicans Threaten to Oust Mike Johnson for Trying to Avoid Shutdown

In today’s episode of “Who could have seen this coming???,” House Speaker Mike Johnson is facing the threat of an ousting about two months into his reign as Speaker. Johnson maintains that he’s standing by a spending deal he forged with Democrats to fend off a government shutdown next week, and the $1.59 trillion (and change) agreement is predictably far too high for Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus.

On Monday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) was the first to publicly say he’d be willing to remove Johnson from the Speakership over how he’s handling budget negotiations with Democrats. Then on Thursday, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) said, “If Speaker Johnson doesn’t deliver on the conservative credentials he promised us, then I suspect we will be looking for a new Speaker.” And after calling a motion to remove Johnson “the dumbest thing that could happen” on Tuesday, by Friday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) sang a completely different tune, outraged by funding for Ukraine as part of Johnson’s deal with Democrats: “We don’t have to trade $60 billion for Ukraine for our own country’s border security,” Greene told reporters. “That is a failing, losing strategy and I will never support it. I’ll fight it as much as possible. Even if I have to go so far to vacate the chair and there’s others that agree with me.”

All of this comes after Punchbowl News reported on Tuesday that House Republicans have “significant concerns” about Johnson’s abilities and whether he’s “in over his head.” At least one Republican told the outlet that Johnson is “getting rolled even more than [former Speaker Kevin] McCarthy did.”

I repeat: Who on earth could have seen this coming??? Except everyone! If Johnson and his supporters are shocked by what’s happening right now, that only speaks to how unfit he was to take on this position from the start—a textbook case of being surprised when leopards eat your face.

Ultimately, no one in the caucus has offered anything concrete in the way of a motion to remove Johnson or stated firmly whether they will or won’t. “I know you guys want headlines on vacate the chair crap. I’m just telling you that there’s a lot of unhappiness in the conference,” Greene told reporters on Friday, according to the Messenger.

But it says a lot that none of us would be surprised if Republicans did try to remove Johnson—that’s how ungovernable, incompetent, and comically petulant this caucus is. After requiring 15 rounds to elect McCarthy Speaker last January, he was removed by October following a coup facilitated by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). Then, House Republicans burned through three different Speaker nominees, had to fend off a near-physical altercation, and weathered an internal cyberbullying scandal before landing on Johnson almost an entire month after removing McCarthy. And it’s hardly been smooth sailing for Johnson since November. He’s been exposed as an anti-abortion extremist who apparently has a deal with his son to monitor each other’s masturbation habits. And he’s been accused of being either broke or extremely corrupt.

Welp, we have approximately one week until a looming government shutdown deadline on January 19 to get this all squared away, and I recommend having some popcorn on hand. As Esquire put it, “Julius Caesar had more friends during the Ides of March” than Johnson presently has in Congress. We know House Republicans famously love a good ousting. And I honestly find all of this very funny and would welcome Johnson’s removal. House Republicans are not serious people who can be reasonably bargained with or led. Why pretend???

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