Speaker Mike Johnson Vows He Won't Resign As Threat To His Gavel Grows

With the House GOP looking to move on foreign aid packages, the Louisiana Republican is striking defiant tone.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), facing renewed threats to his leadership, said that he will not step down and that he sees himself as a “wartime speaker.”

Johnson’s remarks came as House Republicans were trying to put together a plan to vote on four high-priority items — aid for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and a catch-all bill of other national security-related provisions — without fracturing the party further.

Opponents of a measure to replenish the U.S.′ own weapons stocks, and thus allow more unused weapons in storage to be sent to Ukraine’s military, have threatened to oust Johnson.

“I am not resigning and it is in my view an absurd notion that someone would bring a vacate motion. We are here simply here trying to do our jobs,” Johnson said at a press conference following a Tuesday morning House GOP meeting.

The threat to Johnson’s hold on the speaker’s gavel grew on Tuesday when Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a far-right libertarian House Republican, said on social media he would support an effort by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to vote to toss Johnson.

“He should pre-announce his resignation (as [former GOP Speaker John] Boehner did), so we can pick a new Speaker without ever being without a GOP Speaker,” Massie wrote.

Massie posted that Johnson said at the closed-door meeting he would not resign. “I said to him that he is the only one who can prevent us from going through what happened last fall,” Massie said, referring to the three weeks the House was unable to consider any bills as Republicans struggled to find a new leader, after then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy was booted from the post.

Dissatisfaction with Johnson’s leadership has grown since he replaced McCarthy. At the top of the list of things his opponents point to is the deal to fund the government through September, a bargain that provided Democrats with much of the spending they wanted and Republicans with a few smaller victories.

He’s also brought Democratic-supported bills to the floor so they can be approved without amendment as long as they get a supermajority of votes. And he supported the controversial renewal last week of a 9/11-era spying provision that several lawmakers in his party, along with many Democrats, opposed.

Republicans have also been unable to get the Biden administration to do much on immigration, which has been their condition for approving any further Ukraine aid.

Greene has yet to call for a vote on Johnson’s future and described her motion to vacate the speaker’s chair as more of a warning when she first filed it in March. It’s unclear if she has enough votes for it to succeed, however ― even though Johnson would have only two GOP votes to spare before needing to turn to Democrats for support.

Johnson said Tuesday he was unconcerned about the threat and stressed the need for party unity as Congress deals with various crises abroad.

“I regard myself as a wartime speaker. In a literal sense, we are [at war]. I knew that when I took the gavel. I didn’t anticipate this would be an easy path,” Johnson said.

“The way we get through that is we show unity. We explain how we have answers to all these great challenges. We have those answers. We shouldn’t get in the way of ourselves.”

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