Trump on Johnson’s handling of Ukraine vote: ‘You can’t really get too tough’ with slim majority

Former President Trump on Monday offered a defense of Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) amid blowback from conservatives over Johnson’s decision to bring additional aid for Ukraine and other national security priorities to the House floor for a vote over the weekend.

In his first comments since the national security funding package passed the House with bipartisan support Saturday, Trump told conservative radio host Chris Stigall that Johnson was in a difficult position because of the GOP’s exceedingly narrow majority.

“Remember, the Speakership we’re talking about has, you know, we’re a majority by one. One vote,” Trump said, citing the dwindling majority because of various lawmaker resignations.

“And you can’t really get too tough when — Look, we all want to be tough guys and all, and I have a lot of friends, and frankly I have friends on both sides,” Trump continued. “You know, if you look at the vote, a lot of Republicans, a lot of good Republicans, voted for it. But Mike is in there and he’s trying, and some people were disappointed, and a lot of people were very disappointed that nothing happened with the border. I’ll straighten out the border.”

The debate over whether to move forward with a series of bills to provide billions in aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, as well as provide humanitarian aid to those in the Middle East, split House Republicans and sparked calls from some Trump allies in the chamber for Johnson’s ouster as Speaker.

Johnson ultimately defied his conservative critics, pushing to the floor a series of four bills providing overseas assistance but detaching those funds from a separate border security bill, which failed on the floor during Saturday’s votes. He framed the aid as a simple but crucial continuation of America’s responsibility to democratic allies facing threats of their own.

The package, which more than 100 House Republicans voted against, included roughly $61 billion for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel, $8 billion for allies in the Indo-Pacific, and a package of additional national security measures that features a potential ban on the popular TikTok app. The bills must still pass the Senate before going to President Biden’s desk.

Trump hosted Johnson at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida earlier this month and offered his support for the embattled Speaker, who is under fire from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a staunch ally of the former president.

Greene filed a motion to vacate against Johnson late last month, which Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) endorsed last week. She has not yet said when she might trigger the motion, however.

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