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Rep. Tom Cole says “the reservoir of goodwill is enormous” for House Speaker amid effort to oust him

Washington- Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican who heads the House Appropriations Committee, said Sunday that despite a growing threat to Mike Johnson, Speaker of the House of Representativeshe is “much stronger than people seem to think”, noting that “the reservoir of goodwill is enormous”.

“I actually think he has, you know, empowered the center and marginalized the extremes on either side,” Cole said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” “Now, is there any risk in that? Sure. But the fact is he’s accomplished a lot. I think people look up to him. They really like him.”

The Louisiana Republican has faced retaliation in recent weeks for his handling of the government funding process, prompting Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, to file a lawsuit. motion to leave, threatening to provoke a vote for his ouster. This frustration was reinforced by the fact that he led a foreign aid program which the House approved on Saturday, which some conservatives also opposed. And although Greene has not yet committed to a timetable for holding a vote on Johnson’s impeachment, she has gained some support in recent days.

The effort to oust Johnson now has three public Republican supporters: Greene, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Paul Gosar of Arizona, who announced his support for the effort Friday. The Republicans currently have a razor-thin majority, so Johnson can only afford to lose one vote unless he gets Democratic support.

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Rep. Tom Cole on “Face the Nation,” April 21, 2024.

CBS News


But Cole made clear that “it’s a relatively small number” of Republicans who would support a motion to oust Johnson, saying he didn’t anticipate that “we would lose the same number of Republicans that we lost with Kevin McCarthy.” , who last year was the first speaker to be removed from office in October under similar circumstances.

“There are a lot of people who like the speaker, who respect him, even if they don’t agree with him,” Cole said. “They know he’s honest, he’s a maverick. They also got a taste of what it’s like to go without a speaker for three weeks. I don’t think they want to do that again .”

All Democrats joined the eight Republicans who voted to expel McCarthy from office. And it might not be the same for Johnson. Cole said he does not believe there is unified Democratic support for impeaching Johnson, saying it is unlikely that Democrats who supported the foreign aid program, particularly his aid to Ukraine, vote to oust the president.

“I think both sides now understand how dangerous and irresponsible this is,” Cole said. “But if someone wants to do it, it’s within the rules and they can try their luck.”

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