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Speaker Mike Johnson meets with Trump and gets his praise amid threats to his job

With his job in jeopardy, House Speaker Mike Johnson traveled to Florida on Friday to meet with the only man who could save his precarious presidency: former President Donald Trump.

Johnson made his pilgrimage to Trump’s Palm Beach resort as he faces a constant threat to his job from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia far-right firebrand and Trump loyalist who has multiplied the attacks against him less than six months after he took office.

When asked if he supported Greene’s motion to impeach Johnson, Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election, offered kind words to both.

“We get along very well with the speaker. And I get along very well with Marjorie. We have a speaker who was elected, and it was a complicated process and I think it’s not an easy situation for any speaker. I think he does a very good job. He’s doing about as well as you. And I’m sure Marjorie understands that. She is a very good friend of mine and I know she has a lot of respect for the speaker.

“I stand with the speaker,” Trump added later, saying it was “unfortunate that people are talking about this because right now we have much bigger problems.”

The official topic of the meeting was strengthening “election integrity,” and Trump said in the afternoon that the two had decided to meet to discuss measures to prevent non-citizens from voting. At the Mar-a-Lago resort, Johnson, R-La., said he was happy to join the 2024 GOP candidate at “this beautiful facility.”

Non-citizen voting is already illegal – and very rare. But Trump and many of his allies have falsely claimed that undocumented immigrants affected the 2020 election and warned they could do so again this year.

Alongside Trump, Johnson called for a vote on changes to federal election laws.

“House Republicans are introducing a bill that will require proof of citizenship to vote. It seems like common sense,” he said, asserting that there were “millions of illegal immigrants” in the United States and many of them may attempt to vote illegally. “This could be a close election – in our congressional races across the country. This could, if there are enough votes, affect the presidential election.”

Before the meeting, some Republicans said Trump’s support would help Johnson fend off threats to his gavel.

“Obviously it would help” Johnson if Trump reiterated his support, said conservative Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C. said in an interview. Norman has sometimes criticized Johnson but does not support the push to impeach him.

“Trump has supporters; he is our candidate. (…) It is now Trump and Biden – there is no other choice. So it is good that they are coming together,” continued Norman, saying he expects Trump to make it clear to Johnson that his number one priority should be passing new immigration restrictions.

When asked what Johnson had to gain by visiting Trump, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., a Johnson critic, said: “President Trump has been a great negotiator, but he also has a very good idea of ​​what the American people think. want.” She said she was looking forward to their joint announcement.

Johnson’s visit to Palm Beach came just three days before Trump’s trial in New York, where he is accused of falsifying business records in connection with secret payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Trump told reporters Friday that he would testify: “Yes. I would testify, absolutely. It’s a scam. It’s a scam. It’s not a trial.”

“Jury selection is largely a matter of luck. It comes down to choice,” he added. “I’m testifying – I’m telling the truth. All I can do is tell the truth. And the truth is there’s no proof. They have no proof.”

It was the first in-person meeting between the two men since Trump became the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee. Such a meeting would not be unusual between a GOP president and a presidential candidate, with the party uniting behind its candidate. But this comes exactly three weeks after Greene filed her motion to unseat Johnson and as other conservatives complain about her handling of a host of thorny issues.

The threats to Johnson’s job are fueled by two controversial issues he is stuck on: approving aid to Ukraine and renewing a warrantless surveillance program under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The FISA bill was passed Friday. In both cases, Johnson faced pressure from his party committee leaders, centrist Republicans and the Senate to act — against the wishes of a group of far-right members who s are opposed to the two questions.

Motion by Marjorie Taylor Greene to leave

Greene, who released her motion to impeach Johnson last month before a two-week recess in the House, has yet to trigger it. If she did so, it would require a vote within two legislative days. Upon returning from the House, and despite calls from her colleagues to step down, she only intensified her attacks on Johnson.

Greene threatened the government funding bill passed last month, saying Johnson gave President Joe Biden and Democrats “everything they wanted” in the spending package. (Johnson negotiated the bill, which included various conservative provisions, with the Democratic Party.) controlled the Senate and the White House.)

“I will not tolerate our Republican President-elect, Mike Johnson, serving the Democrats and the Biden administration and helping them implement their policies that are destroying our country. He is throwing our own majority into chaos by failing to serve his own Republican conference that elected him,” Greene wrote in a letter to colleagues this week, while calling on Johnson not to fund aid to Ukraine or to not renew section 702 without a new “warrant requirement”.

No other Republicans said they would vote for Greene’s motion to overturn, and Greene downplayed Friday’s meeting, saying, “President Trump meets with people all the time.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Republican of Florida, a Johnson ally and a Trump supporter, said he didn’t think the threat to the speaker was real: “Johnson is on very solid ground here, regardless the noise.”

And some Democrats said they would vote to protect Johnson if Republicans sought to oust him for providing aid to Ukraine. Democratic leaders, who unified the conference last fall against the protection of then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California amid a revolt by a small number of GOP members, are keeping that door open with Johnson.

“If the speaker did the right thing and allowed the House to exercise its will in voting for or against the national security bill, then I think there are a reasonable number of Democrats who would not would not want to see the speaker fall because we did the right thing,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told reporters Thursday, adding that he was making “an observation, not a statement , because we need to have a conversation.”

Friday’s meeting is reminiscent of McCarthy’s flight to Mar-a-Lago to make amends with Trump just weeks after McCarthy publicly lambasted him for inciting the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol . After Republicans regained control of the House, Trump endorsed McCarthy for speaker and helped him win the gavel amid a weeklong stalemate in early 2023.

But last fall, when Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, forced a vote to unseat McCarthy, Trump remained silent and made no effort to save him.

Johnson’s fate could be different given his role in Trump’s effort to overturn Biden’s 2020 election victory. He led the amicus brief signed by more than 100 House Republicans who supported a lawsuit in Texas seeking to invalidate election results in four swing states carried by Biden.

News Source : www.nbcnews.com
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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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