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Second Republican backs effort to oust Speaker Mike Johnson from power


WASHINGTON — A second House Republican said he will support an effort to oust Speaker Mike Johnson from power over his handling of foreign aid for Ukraine and other U.S. allies.

Rep. Thomas Massie, of Kentucky, who is a member of Johnson’s own Rules Committee, said he informed the speaker directly in a closed-door meeting of House Republicans on Tuesday that he is co-sponsoring a resolution offered by far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to remove Johnson, R-La., from the top job.

Side by side of Mike Johnson and Thomas Massie
House Speaker Mike Johnson and Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky.Getty Images

“He should pre-announce his resignation (as Boehner did), so we can pick a new Speaker without ever being without a GOP speaker,” Massie wrote on X, referring to former GOP Speaker John Boehner, who resigned in the middle of his term in 2015 while facing a similar conservative rebellion from Massie and others.

Johnson told rank-and-file House Republicans in the room that he won’t resign, Massie said, a point he reiterated to reporters.

“I am not resigning. And it is in my view an absurd notion that someone would bring a vacate motion when we are simply here trying to do our jobs,” Johnson said after the private meeting. “It is not helpful to the country. It does not help the House Republicans advance our agenda which is in the best interest of the American people here: a secure border, sound governance — and it’s not helpful to the unity that we have in the body.”

He added: “I am not concerned about this. I am going to do my job.”

With the GOP majority hanging by a thread, Johnson can afford only two GOP defections if Greene files her motion as “privileged,” forcing a floor vote to vacate the speaker’s chair. To successfully remove him, at least three Republicans — and all Democrats — would then need to vote for the motion to vacate.

Some Democrats, however, have said they would vote to save Johnson to prevent the House from spiraling out of control, similar to what happened last fall after conservatives toppled then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, ushering in three weeks of chaos and ultimately paving the way for Johnson’s ascent.

This week’s conservative rebellion comes as Johnson attempts to move stalled foreign aid for U.S. allies including Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan through the House. Far-right members, including Greene, are demanding that Johnson and his leadership team focus their attention and resources on shoring up security of the southern border with Mexico.

Massie’s support for Johnson’s ouster is significant in another regard. Members of the Rules Committee, known on Capitol Hill as the “speaker’s committee,” are appointed by the speaker and typically carry out the speaker’s wishes. Massie, however, was put on the influential panel by McCarthy last year, and Johnson has had to bypass the Rules Committee on a number of occasions to get critical legislation to the floor.


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