House Republicans fear Rep. Hakeem Jeffries could be next House speaker if Johnson is ousted

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. told theGrio he is concerned that a few House Republicans may vote to replace House Speaker Mike Johnson with Jeffries, the House minority leader.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is worried House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., could become the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, if the current speaker of the House, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., is ousted.

Gaetz told theGrio he is worried some of his “Republican colleagues would vote for Jeffries” to be Johnson’s successor in the event far-right Republican lawmakers make good on their threat to vacate him from the speakership.

The Republican lawmaker’s comments come after he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that members of the GOP could be “susceptible to a bribe” and subsequently “hand the House over to Democrats.”

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.,
Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (above) reportedly asked the Donald Trump White House for a pre-emptive pardon for himself and unnamed congressional colleagues, according to The New York Times. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Given that Republicans currently have a five-seat majority, House Democrats would need at least three Republicans to join them and vote in favor of Jeffries to hold the coveted speaker’s gavel. 

In 2022, Jeffries made history as the first Black lawmaker to hold the title of House minority leader. He could make history again as the first Black House speaker if plans of ousting Johnson and striking a compromise with Democrats were to become a reality.

For weeks now, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has threatened to oust Speaker Johnson because she believes he is prioritizing the needs of Democrats over the GOP caucus.

In a recent post on X, the conservative firebrand wrote that Johnson “betrayed Republicans by handing the gavel to [President] Joe Biden, [Senator] Chuck Schumer, Hakeem Jeffries, and the rest of the Democrats.”  

Greene accused the speaker of double-crossing House Republicans when it comes to votes on border security, renewing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and “funding endless wars.” 

Rep. Jonathan Jackson, D-Ill., told theGrio that given the chaos amongst House Republicans, “it’s time” for Jeffries, currently the House Minority Leader, to become House speaker.

“The American people have a lot of pressing issues on the table like inflation and affordable housing and we need to get [Congress] moving,” declared Jackson.

Rep. Greg Casar, D-Texas, told theGrio that Jeffries is better poised than Johnson to be speaker of the House due to how Jeffries has “managed the floor and the House’s business.” 

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries,
US House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 29, 2023. The US government began on September 28 informing workers of an impending shutdown that could see millions of federal employees and military personnel temporarily sent home or working without pay, unless Congress reaches a funding deal. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Casar added, “I would encourage any member of the House to support Leader Jeffries.”

On the contrary, Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., told theGrio that it would be a “stupid” move if House Republicans voted for Jeffries to become the next House speaker. 

This would be Greene’s second attempt to vacate the speaker. Her first effort was in March, however, she did not have enough votes. This time around, the Georgia Republican has the support of at least two other House Republicans, Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.

U.S. Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Calif., told theGrio that she believes Greene is a “disgrace to this Congress.”

“She is not talking about anything of substance,” said the freshman congresswoman.

U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., who recently clashed with Greene about disavowing white supremacy on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, told theGrio that she keeps teasing a motion to vacate the speaker because it will get her “more donations and get her on the news.”

“We’ll see what ends up happening,” said Maxwell. 

In the meantime, the Gen-Z Florida lawmaker said Congress “needs to focus on doing the work of the people.”

If Johnson is vacated from his post, he will be the second speaker to be removed from the speakership this congressional session. In October 2023, former Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted as House speaker. Shortly after, he resigned as a representative of California’s 20th Congressional District. 

U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, D-Pa., told theGrio that Greene is making a “mockery” of her position in Congress. 

“I don’t think people realize how much time we spend doing nothing because the Republican conference can’t get their things together,” said Lee.

At this time, it is unclear if or when Greene will introduce a motion to vacate Johnson as House speaker. 

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