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Trump Backs Embattled Speaker Johnson at Mar-a-Lago Meet

Trump Backs Embattled Speaker Johnson at  Mar-a-Lago Meet
(AP)

Friday, 12 April 2024 05:47 PM EDT

Donald Trump offered a political lifeline Friday to House Speaker Mike Johnson, saying the beleaguered GOP leader is doing a “very good job,” and tamping down the far-right forces led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene trying to oust him from office.

Trump and Johnson appeared side-by-side at the ex-president's Mar-a-Lago club, a rite of passage for the new House leader as he positions himself, and his GOP majority, side-by-side with the indicted Republican Party leader ahead of of the November election.

“I stand with the speaker,” Trump said at an evening press conference at his private club.

Trump said he thinks Johnson, of Louisiana, is “doing a very good job – he's doing about as good as you're going to do.”

“We’re getting along very well with the speaker — and I get along very well with Marjorie,” Trump said. But he also the efforts to oust the speaker ”unfortunate,” saying there are “much bigger problems" right now.

The two appeared for a joint announcement on new legislation to require proof of citizenship for voting, but the trip itself is significant for both. Johnson needed Trump to temper hard-line threats to evict him from office. And Trump benefits from the imprimatur of official Washington dashing to Florida to embrace his comeback bid for the White House and his tangled election lies.

“It is the symbolism,” said Charlie Sykes, a conservative commentator and frequent Trump critic.

“There was a time when the Speaker of the House of Representatives was a dominant figure in American politics,” he said. “Look where we are now, where he comes hat in hand to Mar-a-Lago.”

The trip shows the fragility of the speaker’s grip on the gavel, just six months on the job, but also his evolving grasp of the politics of the Trump era as the Republicans in Congress align with the “Make America Great Again” movement powering the former president's r-election bid.

Trump and Johnson discussed a topic both have embraced as a priority campaign strategy — pummeling President Joe Biden over what Republicans claim is a “migrant invasion.”

By linking the surge of migrants coming to the U.S. with the upcoming election, Trump and Johnson want to prevent noncitizens from voting — even though it’s already a federal felony for a noncitizen to cast a ballot in a federal election.

In a background paper sent ahead of the meeting, they echoed claims that Biden and Democrats are engaging in what Trump's campaign called "a willful and brazen attempt to import millions of new voters.”

Johnson said the House Republicans would present new legislation requiring proof of citizenship for elections.

Having the House speaker and the presidential contender align for the campaign season is not in itself surprising or even unexpected.

But in the Trump era, the sojourns by Republican leaders to his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, have become defining moments, underscoring the lopsided partnership as the former president commandeers the party in sometimes humiliating displays of power.

Such was the case when Kevin McCarthy, then the House GOP leader, trekked to Mar-a-Lago after having been critical of the defeated president after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. A cheery photo was posted afterward, a sign of their mending relationship.

Johnson proposed the idea of coming to Mar-a-Lago weeks before Greene filed her motion to vacate him from the speaker's office, just as another group of hardliners had ousted McCarthy. The visit comes just days before the former president’s criminal trial on hush money charges gets underway next week in New York City.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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Donald Trump offered a political lifeline Friday to House Speaker Mike Johnson, saying the beleaguered GOP leader is doing a "very good job," and tamping down the far-right forces led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene trying to oust him from office.Trump and Johnson appeared...
trump speaker johnson maralago congress
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Friday, 12 April 2024 05:47 PM
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