Johnson Forced To Beg For Trump’s Mercy

This is your TPM evening briefing.
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: Newly elected Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) speaks in the House chamber after his election at the U.S. Capitol on October 25, 2023 in Washington, DC. After a contentious ... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: Newly elected Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) speaks in the House chamber after his election at the U.S. Capitol on October 25, 2023 in Washington, DC. After a contentious nominating period that has seen four candidates over a three-week period, Johnson was voted in to succeed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was ousted on October 4 in a move led by a small group of conservative members of his own party (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

More than a dozen House Republicans voted against procedural steps needed to begin consideration of three unrelated bills this afternoon in protest of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) deal with Democratic leadership to cap upcoming spending bill totals at $1.7 trillion.

What was once an unheard of maneuver in the House has become a well-worn tactic for the rebel caucus: tank simple rule votes to signal a looming rebellion after leadership does something the right flank don’t like to avert a shutdown. In the fall, it was now-ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) decision to work with Democrats to pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government open that triggered the behavior. This time, the new speaker has committed a similar offense: he worked with Democrats to arrive at bipartisan proposals for must-pass spending bills before the upcoming shutdown deadlines on January 19 and February 2.

But even without this afternoon’s performance, Johnson has known for a few days he is on thin ice.

During a closed-door meeting with the conference Wednesday afternoon, Johnson pleaded with his colleagues to talk to him in person about their issues with the spending deal, instead of shitposting their complaints on their preferred social platform. While a chunk of the party has gotten behind the Johnson-Schumer deal, right-wingers are reportedly mad that it doesn’t include deep enough cuts and doesn’t address their various culture war priorities, like curbing the Department of Defense’s abortion policies.

A handful of conference members left that meeting displeased, according to multiple reports. That includes Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) who told reporters that Johnson “should never have been hired” and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who wasn’t at the meeting but said that ousting Johnson as speaker is “on the table.”

None of the other far-right members have echoed Roy’s remarks, but the drama fest on the floor this afternoon signals performative punishments did not end with McCarthy’s ousting.

And in the clearest sign yet that Johnson is concerned he may have sealed his fate by working with Schumer this week, he’s making the ritual pilgrimage to the most influential of conservative movement power brokers: Fox News and Donald Trump himself.

During an interview on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show this morning, Johnson assured listeners that he was keeping Trump in the loop. He said he planned to call the former president Wednesday to “talk him through the details of” the agreement he’d reached with Schumer. Johnson has been an ally of Trump’s for some time — dating back to his light election denialism in 2020 — but getting Trump on board with the proposal may convince the former president to tamp down any brewing rebellion, decreasing the threat he’ll suffer the McCarthy fate.

The Best Of TPM Today

On A Historic Day, Political Violence Was Just Below The Surface

Appellate Court Keeps Alive Case Of ‘Reform’ Prosecutor Suspended By DeSantis

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Trump Takes Sledge Hammer To Rule Of Law Today In Historic Case — David Kurtz

What We Are Reading

Iowa pastors denounce ‘God Made Trump’ video — Deseret News

Trump promotes ‘totally baseless’ birther conspiracy theory against Nikki Haley — NBC News

TSA found a record number of guns at airport security checkpoints in 2023. Almost all of them were loaded. — CBS News

Latest Where Things Stand

Notable Replies

  1. The arsonists are discovering that even after one of their own became the fire marshal, the fire department still insists on putting out fires.

  2. "It’s hard to strut, grovel, and cower at the same time!"

  3. Now if they can Johnson - their perfect true believer - who will they try to replace him with this time?

  4. Avatar for noonm noonm says:

    McCarthy found a way.

Continue the discussion at

93 more replies


Avatar for daveminnj Avatar for mondfledermaus Avatar for eldonlazar Avatar for tigersharktoo Avatar for becca656 Avatar for irasdad Avatar for inversion Avatar for callmeeric Avatar for ralph_vonholst Avatar for lastroth Avatar for careysub Avatar for benthere Avatar for caltg Avatar for noonm Avatar for brian512 Avatar for enn Avatar for bad_hombre Avatar for evave2 Avatar for bcgister Avatar for eaharrison Avatar for rascal_crone Avatar for trustywoods Avatar for IBecameACitizenforthis Avatar for john_adams

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: