Democrat claims Trump is controlling the House of Representatives

 February 16, 2024

Florida Democrat Jared Moskowitz said that Donald Trump is running the House of Representatives, as Speaker Mike Johnson (La.) faces criticism for embracing a hard-right agenda.  

Democrats are stepping up attacks on Johnson, painting him as a stooge of both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as the Speaker continues to withhold tax money to Ukraine without a firm commitment to secure the border.

Trump in control?

Democrats say Johnson is bending over backward to please Trump after the Speaker helped tank a so-called "border bill" that Biden supported.

Johnson has argued the bill didn't go far enough to secure the border and that Biden has the power to solve the issue without additional legislation.

After the "border bill" was shot down by Republicans in the Senate, the upper chamber passed a separate $100 billion foreign aid package for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan which Johnson has also opposed.

Johnson also supported the impeachment of Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden's top immigration official, this week over the historic border crisis.

Moskowitz quipped that Johnson has become invisible, with Trump's priorities appearing to guide House Republicans' decision-making.

“I don’t know who Mike Johnson is. It’s clear Donald Trump is Speaker of the House,” Moskowitz told Al Sharpton on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “The only thing that’s going to change is his Wikipedia page.”

Johnson under pressure

Some Democrats have threatened to bring a rare discharge petition that would force the House to vote on sending tax money to Ukraine without Johnson's approval.

After the death of Russian activist Alexei Navalny was confirmed on Friday, Johnson redoubled a commitment to supporting Ukraine.

“As Congress debates the best path forward to support Ukraine, the United States, and our partners, must be using every means available to cut off Putin’s ability to fund his unprovoked war in Ukraine and aggression against the Baltic states,” Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson has also faced occasional threats of removal from the right, a reminder of the pressures that led to his predecessor Kevin McCarthy's ouster.

Republican hawk Michael McCaul (Tx.), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, argued Johnson is "committed" to Ukraine, but the threat of removal has left him with few good options.

"I think that’s going to be a difficult choice for him, because if they’re threatening a motion to vacate, it’s a tough decision,” he said.

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