Sun. May 26th, 2024
alert-–-mike-johnson-wins-house-speaker-election-after-emerging-as-the-trump-backed-‘gop-unity-candidate’-following-22-days-of-turmoilAlert – Mike Johnson wins House speaker election after emerging as the Trump-backed ‘GOP unity candidate’ following 22 days of turmoil

After 22 farcical days, thirteen failed candidates, four nominees and four floor votes, the Republicans have finally elected a House speaker.

Louisiana’s Mike Johnson has been picked to take the gavel in a vote that ended the three-week House GOP circus sparked by the ousting of Kevin McCarthy.

Winning all Republican votes on the floor, Johnson, 51, cinched the top job after a battle dominated by backstabbing, death threats, side deals, Donald Trump and Matt Gaetz.

Johnson, who served as vice chair of the House GOP Conference, needed at least 215 out of 220 present Republicans to vote for him – but instead got unanimous consent from his party. All 209 present Democrats voted for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. 

Johnson was the fourth Republican nominee for the top job in three weeks, and the first one to break through the GOP infighting. He was the first Republican speaker to get every single vote in his party since John Boehner in 2011.

His victory will now allow the House of Representatives to conduct regular business again, which is desperately needed with less than a month until a potential government shutdown and as the Israel-Hamas war intensifies.

The House will catapult back into legislative business that includes a resolution to support Israel and a contentious spending battle. 

Mike Johnson, left, is the 56th speaker of the House 

Louisiana Republican Rep. Mike Johnson has been elected House speaker, putting to rest an over three-week-long impasse in Congress ‘ lower chamber

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s name was taken down from over the door above the speaker’s office

Johnson was nominated on Tuesday evening – just hours after after Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., won an internal Republican vote but dropped out after 26 Republicans signaled they would not vote for him on the House floor.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise, another Louisianan, was the first GOP nominee after Kevin McCarthy was ousted in a historic motion to vacate vote over three weeks ago.  

But he dropped out after about 24 hours when he realized there were holdouts who could not be swayed in his favor – those who thought he was too ‘establishment.’ 

Then firebrand Ohio Republican Jim Jordan, chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee, won the nomination after Scalise, but was not able to sway about 20 moderates in his favor during three failed floor votes.

Johnson and Jordan have highly similar voting records.

Both voted against certifying the 2020 election, against the continuing resolution that keeps the government funded until November 17, against the $300 million Ukraine aid and for the McCarthy-Biden debt ceiling deal. 

Rep. Madeleine Dean told that a colleague told her the only difference between Johnson and Jordan is that ‘one wears a jacket.’

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks with his successor, the new Speaker Mike Johnson 

GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik hugs Mike Johnson after nominating him for speaker on the House floor 

As part of his ‘fired up’ brand, Jordan is infamously known around Capitol Hill to ditch his suit jacket, even when he’s conducting business as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. 

Some Republican appropriators and defense hawks had opposed Jordan believing that he could cut defense spending. 

‘Jim Jordan has said everything is on the table to spending cuts, including defense,’ one aide to a moderate member who opposed Jordan told ‘Johnson has not gone that far.’ 

Jeffries sounded off about Johnson’s nomination: ‘The twice-impeached former president ordered House Republicans to stop Tom Emmer and elevate a top election denier. Is anyone surprised that they complied?’ 

Johnson led an amicus brief signed by more than 100 Republicans to a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election. 

Asked about his past efforts to overturn the results on Tuesday night, he huffed and told a reporter: ‘next question.’ 

Meanwhile, Democrats seized on his involvement in 2020 election fraud claims.

‘[Johnson] has distinguished himself as being one of the primary antagonists to our democratic institutions and our free and fair elections,’ Rep. Adam Schiff, R-Calif., told reporters. 

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., one of the eight who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, told ‘I believe Johnson is going to be trustworthy, more, will be honest, will be truthful.’ 

But Democrat Dean predicted Johnson would face the same ‘untrustworthy’ accusations that were levied against Kevin McCarthy. 

‘He’s not somebody who’s based in the truth he’s very smooth talking. He’s clearly bright, but he’s not based on the facts and the truth,’ she said. 

Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., said he didn’t expect any major leadership or policy differences between Johnson and McCarthy, but Johnson was more trusted by the right wing of the party. 

‘I have been told by a number of my friends in the Freedom Caucus that they do expect they’ll provide Mike Johnson more grace than they gave Kevin McCarthy. I think that’s going to give him a little more runway to try to deal with the next three months, two months,’ he said, referring to the upcoming spending battle to get the government funded. 

429 members showed up to the vote that elected Mike Johnson as speaker 

Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., looks on as the House holds Johnson’s election 

Rep. Lauren Boebert stands to vote for Johnson 

‘I believe that they trust Mike Johnson in a way that they didn’t trust Kevin McCarthy.’

McCarthy was ousted after he put a ‘clean’ continuing resolution, a bill to extend government funding at 2023 levels for six weeks while the House took more time to pass 12 single-subject spending bills, on the House floor. 

The South Dakota Republican predicted that Johnson would be able to work across the aisle get negotiate spending deals despite his conservative voting record.

He said when he came to office, ‘Mike Johnson came to my office, sat down with me as a new member and talked to me about how important civility was in this place, how even when we disagree with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we should try to do it as as people who have good faith and good intention with decency.’

‘That is not something very many members will spend time in these halls, preaching the importance of civility, but I bring that up, because that is at his heart who Mike Johnson is.’

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