FIRST ON FOX: Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., hit back at his critics within the GOP Conference at a closed-door member meeting on Tuesday morning.
Three sources who were in the room told Fox News Digital that Johnson said something to the effect of, ‘We shouldn’t go out and tackle our quarterback before we even run the play.’
All three sources said it was in response to the public criticism beginning to emerge as old House GOP fractures that were temporarily pushed back by Johnson’s election as speaker resurface.
It’s a notable acknowledgment of the blowback from Johnson, who has not spoken publicly about any frustrations with wayward members of his conference.
Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, said he would give Johnson a ‘D-minus’ grade as speaker in comments to reporters last week.
‘I’ve lost a lot of faith,’ Miller said after another closed-door Republican Conference meeting. ‘He was never morally convicted in his values to begin with, since the six years he’s been here as a member. So is that someone I’m going to follow to the gates of hell and trust to go conference with the Senate? Absolutely not.’
Miller also unleashed on Johnson in an interview with Politico, calling him a ‘joke.’
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has also been a sharp critic of Johnson’s decisions as speaker. She called his continuing resolution (CR) aimed at averting a government shutdown ‘a failure.’
Before that, she said in a November interview with the Daily Caller, ‘You know, in our conference, we had Matt Gaetz and seven other Republicans that declared red lines, where any speaker that passes a CR or funds Ukraine war funding should be ousted.’
One of the sources who spoke with Fox News Digital said of Johnson’s struggles, ‘He’s facing the same challenges from the same people.’
They confirmed Miller and Greene as two of Johnson’s top critics and suggested the speaker may be facing issues with the same Republicans who opposed ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
Fox News Digital reached out to Johnson’s office for comment but did not immediately hear back.