A Democrat raised protecting Johnson as speaker in a meeting with Biden and congressional leaders

In a meeting with President Joe Biden, Democrat Rep. Jim Himes raised the idea of protecting Speaker Mike Johnson if far-right Republicans try to oust him.

WASHINGTON — During a meeting between President Joe Biden and congressional leaders focused on Ukraine aid and border security last week, a Democratic lawmaker raised the issue of how to “protect” Republican Speaker Mike Johnson if conservative hard-liners try to oust him from power, two sources in the room told NBC News.

“Johnson is in a precarious position and [we] should figure out how to protect the guy,” Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, told attendees, according to one of the sources.

A second lawmaker in the room confirmed that the issue of protecting Johnson was raised in the meeting but said there was not a broader discussion about it among those in the room.

Himes’ remarks came toward the end of the hour-and-20-minute-long closed-door meeting in the White House’s Cabinet Room, as Biden allowed each of the leaders seated around the table a few minutes to speak. Himes told the group he’s never been in a negotiation where everyone agreed — referring to the need for both Ukraine aid and border security — then brought up the issue of shielding the new speaker. 

The source said they could not see Biden’s reaction in that moment but said that House Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, turned to Himes, seated next to him, and thanked him for making the remarks. Johnson did not have any reaction to Himes, the source added.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/democrat-raised-protecting-speaker-johnson-meeting-biden-congressional-rcna135651


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