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How Mike Johnson broke his promise

This week is the inevitable result of the governing style Republicans chose to embrace when they put Donald Trump on a pedestal.

This week, citing objections to foreign aid and government spending, Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky announced he would back a motion to vacate the speakership, becoming the first Republican to join Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia’s push to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson.

The outcry comes after Johnson, R-La., released separate aid bills for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies, which are expected to get floor votes Saturday. This aid would provide vital resources and assurances to our allies and help limit escalation in regions of conflict, but some House Republicans continue to insist?Johnson’s support for these bills is grounds for removal as speaker. As a result, he’ll most likely be reliant on House Democrats to carry the bills across the finish line.

Massie said of Johnson on X: “He should pre-announce his resignation (as Boehner did), so we can pick a new Speaker without ever being without a GOP speaker.”

But Johnson, Massie and virtually every other House Republican have resigned — in a way. They’ve resigned themselves to political theater and petty infighting while failing to deliver on even the most basic aspects of their jobs as legislators.

It’s all a far cry from Johnson’s promise to the American people just minutes after he got the gavel: “Our mission here is to serve you well, to restore the people’s faith in this House, in this great and essential institution.”

Serving Americans well requires, at a basic level, funding the government. It wasn’t until last month that Congress finally passed legislation keeping the government afloat until September, only after House Republicans’ refusal to act repeatedly brought the nation to the brink of a government shutdown.

Serving Americans well means preserving our nation’s credit by using congressional authority to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a catastrophic default. Republicans chose instead to fiddle with the full faith and credit of the United States under the guise of fiscal responsibility.?

But one of the most basic examples of congressional service — the first task before a House majority after being sworn in — is electing a House speaker.

But one of the most basic examples of congressional service — the first task before a House majority after being sworn in —?is electing a House speaker.

And just a reminder: It took an unprecedented 15 votes to elect House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California in January of last year, when Republicans took over as the majority party. It took only one floor vote to boot him from the speaker’s chair less than a year later —?the first time in history the House voted to remove its leader.

It took 22 more days of deliberation, multiple nominees and three floor votes before Johnson was elected speaker. That’s 22 days of an entire chamber of the legislative branch being unable to function because of Republican ineptitude.

Now, they’re ready to do it all again.

If Johnson is forced from his post, you can expect even more congressional chaos. Republicans had a nine-seat advantage over Democrats during the arduous process of replacing McCarthy. But beginning Friday with the resignation of Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, the GOP will be able to spare only one vote to retain a majority and elect a speaker, though Gallagher has assured Johnson he has the flexibility to stay until Saturday if needed to vote on the latest foreign aid bills.

This mayhem and mismanagement are all self-inflicted. It was House Republicans who changed House rules to allow any single member a motion to vacate. It was House Republicans who chose to oust McCarthy. It was House Republicans who refused to act on good-faith budget talks, border negotiations and foreign aid.

Which is likely to be why we’re seeing such a pivot to political theater, with the House delivering impeachment articles for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate, which were quickly rejected, and continuing to pursue a supersized nothingburger with the impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden.

And the discord isn’t limited to the federal level. Republican institutions across the country are in disarray.?

In South Carolina, Freedom Caucus legislators brought the state budgeting process to a standstill last year as they attempted to force cultural wars into the fiscal conversation.?

In Missouri, state Freedom Caucus legislators were stripped of committee assignments after they used procedural measures to bring legislative business to a grinding halt. One state senator even proposed a measure to revive dueling between members.

And the disorder in Republican state parties is arguably even worse.

This is the inevitable result of the governing style Republicans chose to embrace when they put Donald Trump on a pedestal: chaos and division. Until that is addressed, any promises from Speaker Johnson or his possible successor to restore faith in the people’s House will be as fragile as the rules that keep him in power.

For more thought-provoking insights from Michael Steele, Alicia Menendez and Symone Sanders-Townsend, watch?“The Weekend”?every Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. ET on MSNBC.

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