Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene files motion to oust Mike Johnson as House speaker

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene files motion to oust Mike Johnson as House speaker

US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, Republican of Louisiana, waits to speak during a news conference after a closed-door House Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 29, 2024.

Drew Angerer | AFP | Getty Images

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has filed a motion to oust Speaker Mike Johnson, three sources with knowledge of the move told NBC News, doing so just as the House voted to avoid a government shutdown.

Johnson, R-La., has served as speaker for five months, having taken over for Kevin McCarthy who was ousted from the top job under a similar process.

It was not immediately clear how the House would act on her motion, which requires just a majority vote to remove the speaker. Greene, R-Ga., did not file the motion as privileged — which would force a vote within two legislative days — but instead as a regular motion, which could be referred to a committee, where it would likely languish.

Greene told reporters that the motion to vacate was more of a warning shot and that she had not discussed it with President Donald Trump.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., speaks to the media on the House steps of the U.S. Capitol after filing her motion to vacate Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., on Friday, March 22, 2024. 

Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The House is set to leave for a two-week recess on Friday and won’t consider the motion until after it returns, an official familiar with the process told NBC News. The House will return to session on April 9.

Raj Shah, a spokesman for Johnson, said the speaker’s focus is “on governing. He will continue to push conservative legislation that secures our border, strengthens our national defense and demonstrates how we’ll grow our majority.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who forced the vote to remove McCarthy as speaker, told reporters on Thursday that he doesn’t support a motion to vacate the chair and evict Johnson.

“If we vacated this speaker, we’d end up with a Democrat,” Gaetz told reporters. “When I vacated the last one, I made a promise to the country that we would not end up with the Democrat speaker. And I was right. I couldn’t make that promise again.”

Asked how that could happen, Gaetz said, “We’d have Republicans cross over. I worry that we’ve got Republicans who would vote for Hakeem Jeffries at this point. I really do. I take no joy in saying that. But you can only vacate the speaker if you know that the party leadership won’t change hands. I knew that with certainty last time. I don’t know it with certainty this time.”

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) leaves a closed-door House Republican meeting at the U.S. Capitol on October 20, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Gaetz’s move against McCarthy led to the first time in U.S. history a House speaker was removed in the middle of a session. It sparked weeks of chaos in the thin Republican majority as they scrambled to find a replacement before settling on Johnson.

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., who voted to oust McCarthy, said he wouldn’t support a motion to remove Johnson on Friday. “No, he’s not lied to me,” he said.

Greene had been dropping hints about her plans. Asked on Steve Bannon’s podcast Friday before the spending vote about a motion to vacate, she said: “We are making that decision on a minute-by-minute basis today, Steve, and I think you can stay tuned. I urge you to watch what happens.”

On Thursday afternoon, Greene told NBC News, “There’s a lot of people talking about a motion to vacate.”

But she didn’t elaborate on whether or when she would actually file a motion. When asked why, she replied, “All kinds of issues.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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