‘Failing act of political theater’: Greene ostracized after Johnson ouster push

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was never hugely popular among her more centrist colleagues. After forcing a vote on ousting Speaker Mike Johnson, even droves of conservatives seem to have abandoned her — leaving the Georgia firebrand with next to no allies in the House.

“People are calling me saying: ‘Please, tell her to not do this.’ Mike is a good man. He’s doing the best he can. Trump’s calling her and telling her not to,” said Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.). ”I think she’s lost a whole lot of respect in her district.”

Greene finally followed through on her six-week threat to force a referendum vote on Johnson’s speakership Wednesday. Ten Republicans joined her effort, though it’s unclear if all of them would’ve voted to depose the GOP leader.

Johnson hasn’t publicly indicated that he’ll punish Greene for her failed push, but the vast majority of House Republicans — exhausted with the constant chaos of their slim majority — are writing her off entirely as a bothersome sideshow. While there’s little chance that Greene would lose her reelection bid in November, her growing list of foes could mean a severely restricted future for the Georgia firebrand, at least in the House.

“She’s fundraising,” one member, granted anonymity to speak candidly, said. “She’s pissed off because she was friends with [former Speaker Kevin] McCarthy and she missed the first vacancy, so she called the second vacancy.”

Greene has kept at least one major ally in all this, however: former President Donald Trump. In a post on his social network, Trump disagreed with Greene’s tactics on the motion to vacate the speakership but quickly added “I absolutely love Marjorie Taylor Greene.” Never mind that she had ignored the former president’s own efforts to privately stave off her efforts.

And Greene defended her tactics Wednesday evening as she stood next to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), her main ally, and spoke with reporters immediately after the vote.

“I’m proud of myself, because this is the whole reason why I ran for Congress. … I’m sick and tired of the Republican Party that never does what they say they’re going to do. I’m tired of them making promises on television,” she said.

She also hit back at criticism that she’s out of touch with her own constituents, adding: “I’m doing everything I promised my district when I ran for Congress.”

Meanwhile, her colleagues were taking every opportunity to publicly disparage her. When she came onto the floor to announce she was forcing the ouster vote, her GOP colleagues heckled and booed her. Democrats loudly yelled “Hakeem!” referring to the minority leader, who has an unusual amount of power this Congress given deep GOP divisions.

At one point, as Greene was speaking with a large scrum of reporters outside the Capitol after the vote failed, Rep. Brandon Williams — standing alongside his fellow New York Republicans — started yelling over her, saying: “Why do those losers get all of the attention?”

“Moscow Marjorie has clearly gone off the deep end — maybe the result of a space laser,” scoffed Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.).

Even Johnson himself, who has a reputation for his conciliatory approach and not seeking retribution against his members, got in an indirect dig at the Georgia Republican on Wednesday.

“Hopefully this is the end of the personality politics and the frivolous character assassination that has defined 118th Congress,” he said. “It’s regrettable.”

The Main Street Republicans, who are more establishment-minded and were furious with Greene’s effort to boot Johnson, went out of their way to bash Greene, speaking with reporters both before and after the vote.

“Listen, all of us in life get to decide how we handle disappointment. You can be productive or you can be destructive. Ms. Taylor Greene is choosing destructive,” Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), chair of that group, said before the vote. “She is engaged in a failing act of political theater.”

Even some Democrats, who otherwise might have been glad to see GOP disunity, made it clear they’re taking her antics personally. Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska), one of the more centrist members of the Democratic coalition, noted that the last GOP speaker fight called her back to Washington shortly after her husband died in a plane crash.

“This isn’t a game or a joke for us,” Peltola, who supported keeping Johnson, said in a statement. “There’s real work that needs to get done.”

Even outside Republican groups hammered Greene, pushing for a return to more stable governance.

“The MTG fiasco shows again why our party has a problem with unserious crybabies. These are people who grandstand, fundraise for themselves, and disrupt the GOP’s responsible governing agenda,” said Sarah Chamberlain, President and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, in a statement. “We cannot keep repeating this juvenile nonsense every six months.”

Nicholas Wu and Katherine Tully-McManus contributed.