Third House Republican backs Johnson ouster

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) announced Friday that he will co-sponsor Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) resolution to remove Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) from the House’s top job, becoming the third House Republican to back his ouster.

Gosar, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, revealed his support for dismissing Johnson minutes after the House — with help from Democrats — advanced a foreign aid package that omitted border security provisions.

Gosar referenced that omission in his statement backing the ouster effort.

“I have added my name in support of the motion to vacate the Speaker,” Gosar said. “Our border cannot be an afterthought. We need a Speaker who puts America first rather than bending to the reckless demands of the warmongers, neocons and the military industrial complex making billions from a costly and endless war half a world away.”

Gosar is the third Republican to back Johnson’s removal, after Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) endorsed Greene’s resolution earlier in the week.

It’s unclear, however, how threatened Johnson’s job actually is. Greene introduced her removal resolution last month, but she has neither forced it to the floor for a vote nor stipulated what might prompt her to do so.

While Greene railed this week against Johnson’s approach to the Ukraine debate, she stopped short of committing to bring her resolution to the floor.

“I’m a responsible person,” she said Thursday, her resolution in hand. 

Conservatives have long been critical of Johnson’s management of the House since he took the Speaker’s gavel in October, following the removal of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). The GOP critics have accused him of being too willing to cut deals with President Biden and the Democrats on major legislation, including efforts to fund the federal government and extend Washington’s surveillance powers — two issues that Johnson ushered through the lower chamber in recent weeks. 

The Ukraine debate has fit that same mold, as Johnson has endorsed a package of four bills combining aid for Kyiv, Israel and Taiwan with humanitarian assistance for Gaza and other war zones around the globe. The Ukraine portion is opposed by hard-liners in his conference wary of deficit spending and getting the U.S. bogged down in another long, costly and unwinnable war.

They’re also up in arms that Johnson, after demanding that any foreign aid be accompanied by tougher security measures at the southern U.S. border, abandoned that stipulation in announcing his foreign aid strategy earlier in the week.

“How much sense does it make to secure other countries and not secure America?” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) asked after Friday’s vote on the rule governing the foreign aid bills. 

Gosar has stirred controversy in the past.

In 2021, he posted an anime video on social media that depicted the execution of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The violent video led Democratic leaders who controlled the chamber at the time to censure Gosar and remove him from his committee seats.

Updated at 12:14 p.m. ET

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