"Suicide for the GOP": Republicans freak out after "f**king idiots" push to oust House speaker again

“It would be the dumbest move ever," says Republican Rep. Don Bacon

By Gabriella Ferrigine

News Fellow

Published January 10, 2024 11:11AM (EST)

U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) gives remarks ahead of a Capitol Menorah lighting ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Building on December 12, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) gives remarks ahead of a Capitol Menorah lighting ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Building on December 12, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Some Republicans are already grumbling about ousting House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., just months after he was elected.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, during a Monday interview with CNN's Kaitlan Collins, floated the possibility of pushing Johnson out of the role, observing that colleagues "are really frustrated” with the House Speaker.

Roy, who is also the chair of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus that partly drove out former Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., also mentioned “real conversations this week about what [House Republicans] need to do going forward,” saying that the situation was “[not] good.”

Roy is seemingly not the only member of the GOP who is discontented with how Johnson is faring — The New Republic cited reports that indicated some conservatives are growing increasingly uneasy. 

“Significant concerns growing about Mike’s ability to jump to this level and deliver conservative wins, a "well connected" House Republican told PunchBowl News. "Growing feeling that he’s in way, way over his head. As much as there was valid criticism and frustration with Kevin, Mike is struggling to grow into the job and is just getting rolled even more than McCarthy did.”

As The New Republic noted, GOP dissatisfaction with Johnson seems to be emanating from his perceived cooperation with President Joe Biden and House Democrats on spending bills and related legislation. Johnson faced sharp resistance after striking a $1.66 trillion deal with Democratic Majority leader Chuck Schumer, N.Y., over the weekend.

"The agreement essentially hews to the bargain that Congress passed last year to suspend the debt ceiling, which the hard right opposed at the time and had hoped to scale back," The New York Times reported. "It also includes $69 billion in spending that was added as a side deal, money that conservatives sought to block altogether."

Following news of Johnson's potential ousting, far-right GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Ga., came to his defense. Greene referred to Roy's suggestion of booting Johnson as "the dumbest thing that could happen," and went on to cite the political mayhem that ensued after Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., led a coup and introduced the same motion against McCarthy. 

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“I mean, look at the results we have now. We haven’t passed any more appropriation bills since they threw out Kevin McCarthy," Greene said. "We have expelled a Republican member of Congress, we’re reducing our numbers. I’m kind of sick of the chaos. I came here to be serious about solving problems, not to produce clickbait."

Moderate Republicans have also warned against the plan.

“If they try it, they are fucking idiots,” Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., told Semafor

“I kind of doubt anyone wants to go through that three-ring circus again,” another unnamed House Republican told the outlet. 

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“It would be the dumbest move ever and the counter-reaction from the 95% of our conference who want to govern and who know the realities of our Constitutional system and divided government would be fierce,” added Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb. “We just have a few people who think they’re the only people who count and ignore that we have divided government. They’d be threatening Moses taking them to the Promised Land.”

Political strategists warned that moving to oust Johnson would blow back on the party. 

"I would think that even they realize vacating the speakership this soon would be a major mistake. The more likely path is the rabble-rousers will b**ch, moan, feign outrage, and fundraise off it. It's all so tiresome and becoming trite," Republican strategist Alex Patton told Newsweek.

"There is little [the House GOP] can do to stop it other than threatening the career of a member who runs with it,"  added political consultant Jay Townsend, adding that it would be "suicide for the GOP" and serve as "proof" that the party is a "grievance-driven creature incapable of governing."

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a news fellow at Salon. She began writing at a young age, inspired by the many books she read as well as the world around her. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Currently, Gabriella is pursuing an M.A. in Magazine Journalism at NYU. Prior to working at Salon, she was a staff writer at NowThis News.

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Aggregate Chip Roy Chuck Schumer Kevin Mccarthy Marjorie Taylor Greene Matt Gaetz Mike Johnson Politics