Ocasio-Cortez: Republicans not dealing with first-, second- or third-choice Speaker

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) criticized House Republicans and Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) specifically over their failed attempt this week to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

In a stunning vote, House Republicans’ effort to oust Mayorkas from his position collapsed Tuesday, after three of their conference members voted against the move. Ocasio-Cortez suggested the failed attempt is a result of Republicans electing a Speaker, who was not their first choice, who has too little experience.

“Republicans are dealing with not their first-choice speaker, not their second-choice speaker, not their third-choice speaker,” Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes.”

She added that members of the Republican conference are “dealing with the speaker that they could get and that they could agree on.” The House elected Johnson as their Speaker nearly three weeks after they ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the top post last year.

The GOP conference had gone through four Speaker nominations before coalescing around Johnson as their new leader. The New York Democrat suggested that Johnson does not have strong experience leading the Republican Party in her interview Wednesday.

“And that means an individual that does not have experience in party leadership, that is a relative newcomer when it comes to the tenure of member that you’re used to seeing when they typically get the speaker’s gavel,” she said. “And that means that the experience in vote-counting is not quite up to the standard that we usually see in a speakership.”

Republican Reps. Ken Buck (Colo.), Tom McClintock (Calif.) and Mike Gallagher (Wis.) all voted against the impeachment Tuesday. A fourth Republican, Rep. Blake Moore (Utah), switched his vote to “no” at the last minute to allow the conference to bring the legislation back at a different date.

Ocasio-Cortez also claimed the impeachment attempt was “without merit.”

“Secretary Mayorkas has demonstrated no — there is absolutely no evidence for an impeachable offense. It is completely politicized,” she said. “It imperils the Republicans’ own swing district members to force a vote on something so clearly craven and without merit, that I think you see what happened last night, all of that coming together.”

The Hill reached out to Johnson’s office for comment.

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