Trump gives House Speaker Mike Johnson a big boost at Mar-a-Lago meetup

Palm Beach, Florida - Donald Trump on Friday threw a lifeline to beleaguered House Speaker Mike Johnson, saying the Republican congressional leader is doing "a very good job."

Donald Trump (r.) endorsed embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson and said he is doing a "very good job."
Donald Trump (r.) endorsed embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson and said he is doing a "very good job."  © JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Trump defended Johnson against a move by far-right Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom Trump named a friend, to call for a vote for his ouster.

"It's not an easy situation for any speaker," Trump said, with Johnson standing near him at the former president's Mar-a-Lago estate.

Johnson traveled to Florida on Friday to huddle with Trump in the latest sign of the hard-right presidential candidate's informal, yet undisputed leadership of the party.

Trump woos gun lobby at weekend NRA gathering: "Democrats want to take their guns away"
Donald Trump Trump woos gun lobby at weekend NRA gathering: "Democrats want to take their guns away"

After their meeting, the two baselessly speculated about potential fraud in the November presidential election and touched on aid to Ukraine, an issue that has sent fissures through the Republican Party.

On another issue dividing the party, Trump soft-pedaled his past support for abortion rights decades ago, saying he remolded the US Supreme Court as president, leading to the court's June 2022 overturning of the constitutional right to an abortion.

"We did something that everyone said couldn't be done," Trump said of the high court ruling overturning abortion protections.

With House paralyzed, Johnson rails about "threat of fraud"

Trump's backing comes as Johnson faces yet another rebellion by House Republicans dissatisfied with his leadership.
Trump's backing comes as Johnson faces yet another rebellion by House Republicans dissatisfied with his leadership.  © JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Trump inched back on Ukraine Friday, saying he favored loans to Ukraine for its military defense rather than direct assistance.

For Johnson, the trek from Washington to see Trump comes as he tries to save himself from a rebellion on the far-right of his party, which threatens to eject him from the speakership.

The longtime Trump loyalist is walking a tightrope as he tries to balance the demands from his party's relative moderates and the Democrats to pass bills, including the aid to embattled Ukraine.

Samuel Alito under fire over pro-Trump flag in latest Supreme Court scandal
Donald Trump Samuel Alito under fire over pro-Trump flag in latest Supreme Court scandal

The result so far has largely been paralysis in the House.

For Ukraine, the results have been dire, with ammunition-strapped forces increasingly unable to fend off Russian bombardments of the frontlines and civilian targets.

Biden has implored Congress to approve a bill worth $60 billion in war aid. But despite Republicans and Democrats coming together in the Senate, Johnson has so far refused even to set a vote in the House.

Instead, his plan is to propose a bill stiffening requirements that potential voters prove their citizenship status before casting ballots.

"We cannot wait for widespread fraud to occur, especially when the threat of fraud is growing with every single illegal immigrant that crosses the border," he said, without offering any evidence for the link.

Cover photo: JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

More on Donald Trump: