Speaker Johnson refutes speculation that Trump is 'calling the shots' in the House

 February 5, 2024

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) categorically rejected the notion that former President Trump was exerting undue influence over decisions in the House regarding a potential border deal, emphasizing his own role as the one calling the shots during an interview on NBC News's "Meet the Press" with Kristen Welker.

In response to Welker's inquiry about Trump's influence in shaping the House's stance on a potential border deal.

The comments

"But let me ask you about Donald Trump. He said any Republican who votes for this deal should be ashamed of themselves," Kristen Welker started.

"You’ve said you speak to him frequently and that you’ve discussed this deal with him, quote, 'at length.' Is Donald Trump calling the shots here, Mr. Speaker?"

Johnson firmly dismissed such assertions, stating, "Of course not. He’s not calling the shots. I am calling the shots for the House. That’s our responsibility. And I have been saying this far longer than President Trump has."

The discussion unfolded against the backdrop of bipartisan efforts in the Senate to reach a consensus on a border deal.

Some Republicans, however, are suggesting that President Biden already possesses the executive authority needed to address border issues—a tactic that saw limited success during Trump's presidency.

Trump's influence

While Trump has been publicly and privately discouraging Republicans from endorsing any border deal, arguing that it could serve his interests in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election, Johnson remained steadfast in his position, asserting that Trump's opinions were not influencing his decisions.

In emphasizing his consistent stance, Johnson underscored the urgent need to address the border crisis, stating, "I don’t care if they call the legislation H.R. 2 or not. What we’re saying is you have to stem the flow. The president has executive authority right now. As Congress does this negotiation and the debate and the discussion, the president could stop it."

Johnson's remarks highlighted the imperative to curb the influx of migrants while drawing attention to the president's existing executive powers to address the situation.

The situation in Congress

Despite the ongoing bipartisan discussions in the Senate, the Speaker reiterated the responsibility of the House to address the border issue in a manner consistent with his long-standing position.

The interview shed light on the intricate dynamics surrounding border policy discussions, with Johnson firmly asserting the autonomy of the House and downplaying any perception of Trump's influence over the decision-making process.

As debates unfold, the focus remains on finding effective solutions to the complex challenges at the border.

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