'I Stand With The Speaker': Trump Throws Mike Johnson A Lifeline

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee heaped some much-needed praise on Rep. Mike Johnson as he battles to keep his speakership.

Former President Donald Trump defended House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Friday amid threats to his speakership from a faction of far-right Republicans who are angry about his reliance on Democratic votes to pass legislation.

“I think he’s doing a very good job, and he’s doing about as good as you’re going to do,” Trump said Friday after meeting with Johnson at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida private club and residence.

“It’s unfortunate that people bring it up because right now we have much bigger problems,” he added of the efforts to oust Johnson as the top Republican in the House.

It’s unclear if Trump’s words of affirmation for Johnson will be enough to save his job, but it certainly helps his odds. A group of Republican hard-liners led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) are upset with Johnson over his support for funding the government and for reauthorizing the nation’s intelligence programs without any changes.

Last month, Greene filed a motion to oust Johnson from the speakership, but she hasn’t gone forward with forcing a vote on the matter, leaving Johnson scrambling for support from Trump.

At the news conference on Friday, Johnson said that House Republicans would be introducing legislation to require proof of citizenship to vote, which also happens to be one of Trump’s favorite issues. But it’s already illegal for noncitizens to vote in federal elections, and there’s virtually no evidence of noncitizen voting.

The announcement is better viewed as a bid by Johnson to neutralize opposition from his right flank, which is also up in arms over reports that the speaker may put to a vote some sort of package that includes more U.S. aid for Ukraine amid its struggle to survive daily Russian bombardment.

When asked whether he would support a Ukraine aid package if Johnson brings it to the House floor for a vote, Trump again suggested turning it into a loan to the Ukrainian government.

“We’re thinking about making it in the form of a loan instead of just a gift. We keep handing out gifts of billions,” Trump said.

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