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Trump says he thinks Speaker Mike Johnson is ‘doing a very good job’ amid ouster threat from Marjorie Taylor Greene

Former President Donald Trump expressed support for House Speaker Mike Johnson on Friday when asked about Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s motion to oust the Louisiana Republican from her presidency.

Standing next to Johnson at a news conference at Mar-a-Lago, Trump said, “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 that’s really not an easy situation for any speaker.

Friday’s event at Mar-a-Lago, which sources say was the speaker’s idea, comes as Johnson faces the most serious challenge to his presidency yet in Washington as Greene brings up the possibility of forcing a vote to oust him from the top leadership post. .

Johnson’s decision to host an event with the former president offers the speaker an opportunity to seek political cover as he faces intense pressure from his right flank on various policy issues, including aid to Ukraine, and faces key decisions on the path forward.

On Friday, Trump said Johnson was “doing a very good job.”

“And I’m sure Marjorie understands that, she’s a very good friend of mine. And I know she has a lot of respect for the speaker,” Trump said.

Sources familiar with the matter said Johnson would have another mission in mind during his meeting with Trump: examining the former president on a possible aid package for Ukraine – a politically perilous issue that could draw Trump’s ire , split the House Republican Party, and end Johnson’s tenure as new speaker. Some of the president’s allies have advised Johnson to keep Trump in the loop on his plans for Ukraine, mindful that Trump’s support — or opposition — could make or break the legislation, as could Johnson’s presidency.

Johnson and Trump used Friday afternoon’s joint news conference to, in part, “call attention” to what they see as state proposals and lawsuits that would allow non-citizens to vote, a senior Trump adviser said. Currently, federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in federal elections, and non-citizens who vote illegally face fines of up to a year in prison and deportation. However, Trump has regularly falsely claimed that Democrats want undocumented immigrants to enter the country to impact the election.

In his remarks, Johnson promised to vote on a bill that would require proof of citizenship to vote even though it is already illegal, setting up a cynical political vote.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure free and fair elections in this country…we are introducing legislation requiring that anyone registered to vote in a federal election must first prove that they are a U.S. citizen “Johnson said. , standing next to the former president.

The issue has become something of a rallying cry for Republicans, who are seeking to stoke fear around immigration and election security ahead of the November election, as voters continue to consider the issue of borders as a top priority.

Trump spent Friday evening on the Mar-a-Lago patio with Johnson and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Richard Hudson, where a source close to the speaker said the three were coordinating congressional races and endorsements. Trump’s potential.

Trump’s influence — and the extent to which he interferes in the Republican Party’s infighting in the House of Representatives — has the potential to be a powerful force in the fight for the presidency.

Johnson’s allies have asked Trump to publicly support the president or at least stay out of his interactions with House Republicans, according to multiple sources close to Johnson and Trump.

Trump has already shown how he can make governing even more difficult for Johnson. Just this week, the former president called on Republicans to repeal the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a position taken by Trump as the president tried to pass a reauthorization bill through his House. After Trump’s call to reject the bill, a group of conservative hardliners revolted against Republican Party leadership, derailing a procedural vote and upending efforts to pass the bill of law.

On Thursday, Majority Leader Steve Scalise told reporters that members had spoken to Trump about FISA in the past 24 hours after Trump called on members to “kill FISA” ahead of the procedural vote.

“There have been some conversations with the president, and I’m not going to share those conversations, but I think the two-year sunset has a lot of appeal for a lot of people,” Scalise said.

A two-year sunset on the legislation would mean that if Trump wins the presidential election, it will be up to him to reform FISA laws next time. The amended legislation passed the House on Friday afternoon, but not without angering some conservatives following an amendment rejected by one vote.

Johnson has long been a strong supporter of Trump and worked behind the scenes to support Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. CNN previously reported that after the election, Johnson sent an email from a personal email account to every House Republican, soliciting signatures to support a long-running lawsuit in Texas aimed at invalidating the electoral college votes of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed by the Supreme Court.

It’s unclear, however, exactly what Trump will do — if anything — now that Johnson faces the threat of a vote to remove him from the presidency.

When Johnson was elected president, he was initially embraced by conservatives given that his ideology has long been considered more right-wing than former President Kevin McCarthy. But as president, Johnson faced the challenge of presiding over a historically narrow majority and overseeing the passage of major bills, such as government funding legislation, with Democratic support, which infuriated conservatives.

Greene indicated Thursday that she would continue her efforts to oust Johnson, even though Trump would support him during their meeting on Friday.

Greene said she saw the effort to oust Johnson as “distinct” from the former president’s work with the president. Asked repeatedly by CNN’s Manu Raju whether she would continue her efforts to expel Johnson if Trump stood behind him, Greene repeatedly signaled that she was not ready to abandon her efforts.

“I think the motion to cancel is also supported by a number of members of our conference. This is an internal House issue regarding our Speaker-elect of the House. Totally two separate issues. I hope they have a good meeting tomorrow,” she said.

Many House Republicans, however, do not want to see Johnson removed from the gavel and fear a return to the chaos and dysfunction that ravaged their conference for weeks after conservatives ousted McCarthy in a historic and unprecedented vote. last year.

Johnson told House Republicans in a closed-door meeting Wednesday that he had spoken to the former president the day before. But when asked by CNN if he had sought Trump’s support in a possible vote to oust him, Johnson replied: “I’m not going to comment on conversations with President Trump.”

Trump’s team also declined to comment on the call.

Johnson warned, however, that “there would be chaos in the House” if a vote to oust the president were to take place.

Greene, one of Trump’s most loyal supporters, also told CNN that she had recently spoken to Trump, but declined to reveal what he thought of her efforts.

Johnson and Greene were also seen speaking on the House floor Friday. Johnson said the two talked about “all kinds of things,” adding, “Dialogue is important.”

“Marjorie and I agree on our conservative philosophy,” Johnson told reporters. “We sometimes have different ideas on strategy. The important aspect of government in an era of divided government like we have is communicating with members and understanding the thought process behind it, so they have their say.

Yet Greene was among conservatives who sharply criticized Johnson after an amendment they favored was not attached to the FISA reauthorization.

“President Johnson was the final vote to KILL the amendment that would end warrantless surveillance of Americans. What is the difference between President Johnson and Speaker Nancy Pelosi? she wrote Friday on X. “I think this will tell a lot of people what I said.”

This story has been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Clare Foran, Manu Raju, Fredreka Schouten, Lauren Fox, Haley Talbot and Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.

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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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