Speaker Johnson tells Republicans campaigning against each other in primaries to ‘cool it’: report

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is telling Republicans who are going after sitting GOP lawmakers in contentious primaries to ‘knock it off,’ in order to tamp down on divisions within the party, according to a report. 

Johnson, R-La., attended the House Republicans’ annual member retreat at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, last week to unify the often-fractious conference as at least four sitting Republicans in South Carolina, Illinois, Texas and Virginia are going to battle against Republican challengers.

‘I’ve asked them all to cool it,’ Johnson told CNN during the retreat. ‘I am vehemently opposed to member-on-member action in primaries because it’s not productive. And it causes division for obvious reasons, and we should not be engaging in that.’

Johnson is trying to figure out how to guide his razor-thin majority through a series of legislative hurdles that divide Republicans, including how to provide military aid for Ukraine, finish government funding and reauthorize a federal surveillance program – all while trying to make a case that voters should re-elect a GOP House majority.

‘So I’m telling everyone who’s doing that to knock it off,’ Johnson told the outlet, referring to challenging incumbents within the GOP. ‘And both sides, they’ll say, ‘Well, we didn’t start it, they started it.’’

Johnson took the speaker’s gavel late last year after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted from office in a historic move that left Republicans deeply divided and mired in dysfunction.

Johnson told Fox News Digital last week that he is aiming to stay at the helm of the House GOP next year regardless of whether they keep the House majority.

‘I have not given a lot of thought about the next Congress, because I’m so busy with my responsibility right now,’ Johnson said. ‘My intention is to stay as speaker, stay in leadership, because we’re laying a lot of important groundwork right now for the big work that we’ll be doing.’

Fox News’ Elizabeth Elkind and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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