Who is Mike Johnson? New House speaker is a strong Trump ally and a quiet force among Republicans

Who is Mike Johnson? New House speaker is a strong Trump ally and a quiet force among Republicans
Who is Mike Johnson? New House speaker is a strong Trump ally and a quiet force among Republicans

A low-key lawmaker in Congress for lower than a decade, new House Speaker Mike Johnson isn’t recognizable to most People. However the social conservative and devoted ally of former President has been a quiet force throughout the Republican convention he now unexpectedly leads.

Most vital, for now, he was in a position to get all of their 220 votes to develop into speaker on the House flooring. That is one thing none of his extra well-known colleagues have been in a position to do, as Republicans struggled for more than three weeks to choose a alternative for ousted Kevin McCarthy.

Colleagues say the Louisiana Republican who calls himself a servant will probably be a regular hand and give them a contemporary begin. Many hope they may lastly have the ability to transfer previous the seemingly intractable divisions inside their convention which have felled each House GOP chief up to now decade.

“A buddy to all and an enemy to none,” Republican convention chairwoman Elise Stefanik mentioned when nominating Johnson forward of the speaker vote on Wednesday.

Free from the political baggage that may include a greater profile, the affable Johnson, 51, guarantees to revive religion in Congress as he assumes the speakership underneath exceptional circumstances. He is taking cost after three weeks of infighting, different failed candidacies and no motion on laws.

However it stays to be seen how effectively Johnson will fare at uniting his fractured convention because the House instantly plunges into debates over authorities spending — or in gaining belief with Democrats who’re deeply suspicious of his socially conservative document and help for Trump’s efforts to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election.

Addressing the House after his election, Johnson invoked his Christian religion and talked about his upbringing — his mom was 17 when he was born, and his father was a firefighter who was injured within the line of responsibility. He promised to rapidly transfer ahead on conservative priorities like help for Israel and border safety.

“The time for motion is now,” Johnson mentioned. “I can’t allow you to down.”

A constitutional lawyer and former member of the Louisiana state House, Johnson was first elected to the U.S. House in 2016. He is the primary Louisianian to develop into speaker and the primary Southerner to function speaker since Republican Newt Gingrich of Georgia within the Nineteen Nineties.

Among the many extra conservative members of the GOP convention, Johnson has persistently opposed a lady’s proper to abortion — “we’ll get the variety of abortions to ZERO!!” he posted on Twitter, now generally known as X, earlier this 12 months — and has opposed laws giving authorized rights to similar intercourse {couples} who’re married.

An energetic member of the House Judiciary Committee, he gained some discover as one of many main Republican questioners of witnesses throughout Trump’s first impeachment in 2019. He continued to behave as considered one of Trump’s chief defenders by means of the 2020 election, rallying colleagues to signal a letter of help for an unsuccessful case by a number of states to throw out some election outcomes.

Johnson is near Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, who strategized with Trump on the best way to overturn his presidential defeat and misplaced his personal bid for speaker earlier this week after moderates within the convention revolted.

Trump mentioned Wednesday that Johnson he is going to “make us all proud.”

Former Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the highest Republican on the Judiciary panel throughout Trump’s first impeachment, mentioned Wednesday that in hectic occasions on the committee, Johnson would calmly attempt to arrange a means ahead. He would work with newer members on the panel and use his experience in constitutional regulation to advise on one of the best ways to border questions.

A House speaker can solely accomplish that a lot, Collins mentioned, however “they may really feel listened to with Mike.”

Collins mentioned that individuals who don’t know Johnson will probably be struck by his humility, however “don’t mistake the humility and kindness for not being forceful in what he believes in.”

Most regarding to many Democrats is Johnson’s help for Trump two years in the past as the previous president was attempting to illegally overturn his presidential defeat, after each state had licensed Trump’s loss and a number of courts had rejected the previous president’s challenges.

On Nov. 7, 2020, after Biden was declared the winner, Johnson posted that he had known as Trump to inform him to “Keep strong and hold preventing, sir!” And on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress ready to certify Biden’s win and simply earlier than Trump’s supporters overran the Capitol, Johnson tweeted: “We MUST struggle for election integrity, the Structure, and the preservation of our republic! Will probably be my honor to assist lead that struggle within the Congress as we speak.”

He later tweeted a condemnation of the rioters who beat police and broke into the Capitol.

When requested in regards to the 2020 election at a information convention after he was nominated for speaker on Tuesday evening, Johnson declined to reply. And different Republicans who flanked him booed the reporter who requested it. “Shut up!” yelled North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx.

Johnson has additionally been a staunch supporter of Louisiana’s oil and fuel trade. He has obtained extra marketing campaign cash from that trade throughout his seven years in Congress than another and, like lots of his GOP colleagues, has repeatedly downplayed local weather change.

In considered one of his first gestures after his election, Johnson informed Democratic Chief Hakeem Jeffries, who handed him his gavel, that he appeared ahead to working with him.

“I do know we see issues from very completely different factors of view,” Johnson mentioned. “However I do know that in your coronary heart you like and care about this nation, and you need to do what’s proper. And so we’re going to search out frequent floor there, alright?”

His capability to unite his personal aspect of the aisle was apparent — at the least for now. Not one Republican voted in opposition to him.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., the architect of McCarthy’s ouster three weeks in the past, mentioned that Johnson promised the convention Tuesday that the House will go a collection of spending payments however not earlier than a stopgap measure to fund the federal government previous Nov. 17. “That is what I’ve been preventing for since January,” Gaetz informed reporters. “It is the explanation Kevin McCarthy was vacated.”

McCarthy additionally mentioned he supported Johnson, as did moderates and far-right members throughout the spectrum.

Florida Rep. Mario Diaz Balart, who was a key opponent of Jordan’s failed speaker bid, mentioned he supported Johnson as a result of he campaigned “honorably, doing it in a means that I believe made us all proud and I believe that was useful to unify the complete convention.”

Whether or not that may stick is nonetheless unclear.

“No one hates him but,” joked Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. “That’s his greatest asset.”


Related Press writers Kevin Freking, Stephen Groves, Lisa Mascaro, Farnoush Amiri, Jill Colvin and Matthew Daly contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *