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Greene slams Johnson’s Ukraine position: ‘Is he being blackmailed?’

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) went after Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) Wednesday for what she said was a departure from the GOP’s principles on Ukraine and a host of other issues.

“Mike Johnson has made a complete departure of who he is and what he stands for. And to the point where people are literally asking — is he being blackmailed? What is wrong with him? Because he’s completely disconnected with what we want,” Greene said Wednesday in an interview with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson on his show, “Tucker Carlson Uncensored.”

Carlson asked Greene if she believes Johnson is being blackmailed, to which she said, “I have no idea. I can’t comprehend, Tucker.”

Johnson has long said he wants to pass aid for Ukraine as the country enters its third year of trying to push back a Russian invasion, but his conference’s internal politics make that a risky proposition.

Greene last month introduced a motion to oust Johnson from the Speakership that was widely seen as a warning to Johnson not to put Ukraine aid on the floor.

On Wednesday, Greene listed off more policy areas she believes the Louisiana Republican has shifted his focus away from, including border security, anti-abortion and anti-trans legislation.

“I mean, what in the world happened? And you can’t help but question, what do they have on him? Is he being blackmailed? What would make this man do this?” Greene asked.

Responding to Greene’s criticism, Johnson said, “I respect Marjorie. She will always have an open door to the Speaker’s office. We do have honest differences on strategy sometimes but share the same conservative beliefs.”

Johnson earlier this week indicated he expects to move a package including aid for Ukraine when the House returns from recess next week. Sharp divisions among lawmakers have stalled aid for the war-torn nation for more than a year.

In February, the Speaker refused to consider a Senate-passed foreign aid package that would have included $60 billion for Ukraine because of its lack of border security measures. Conservatives had earlier killed a border security deal designed to be attached to the bill.

Johnson said the House’s foreign aid package will include “some important innovations,” though questions remain on the specific details of the legislation. Greene claimed Republicans, including leadership, have been left in the dark.

“Not one Republican member of our conference I have spoken to has any idea what is in this foreign aid package that’s going to give $60 billion to Ukraine, and that is even the leadership offices. They haven’t heard from Mike Johnson on the details,” she said.

Johnson has floated the possibility of extending a loan to Ukraine to ease conservative concerns over increasing the national debt while providing more funding for the country’s fight against Russia. In an interview this week, Johnson referenced the REPO for Ukrainians Act, which would authorize the president to seize Russian sovereign assets frozen in the U.S. and give them to Ukraine to use against Russia.

Long-simmering tensions between Greene and Johnson were brought to the forefront last month, when Greene filed a motion to vacate the Speakership.

It came shortly after Johnson helped pass a large spending package to prevent a partial government shutdown just hours before the deadline. The package had votes from both sides of the aisle, but it angered House conservatives who criticized its spending levels and lack of policy riders they had demanded.

Greene said at the time she would not immediately trigger a vote on ousting Johnson and called the motion “basically a warning.”

“In spite of our Republican majority of just a single seat in just one chamber of Congress, we are still fighting this administration every day to make policy changes,” Johnson said in a statement to The Hill on Thursday. “A shutdown would not serve our party or assist us in our mission of saving the republic by growing our majority, nor will another motion to vacate.”

He reiterated he believes national security beings with border security, telling The Hill, “Any funding of the President’s supplemental request should be premised on meaningful policy to help the American people and finally address the invasion at our southern border.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) suggested Johnson’s move to push forward with Ukraine aid could cost him the Speakership.

When asked on NBC News’s “Meet the Press” if he believes Johnson could lose the gavel over passing Ukraine aid, Bacon said, “It’s possible; I’m not going to deny it. We have one or two people that are not team players. They’d rather enjoy the limelight, the social media.”

Some House Democrats indicated earlier this month they might be open to rescuing Johnson from any motion to oust him, though some said it will depend on how he handles Ukraine aid.

Greene told Carlson she is planning to speak with Johnson and is “very much looking forward to that.”

Updated 5:41 p.m. ET.

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