Mike Johnson is the new Speaker of the House. The Louisiana Republican won the gavel on Wednesday, three chaos-filled weeks after the party ousted Kevin McCarthy from the position earlier this month. Republicans voted unanimously to make him second in line to the presidency.
Johnson, who was elected to the House in 2016, is serving just his fourth term in Congress and is the least experienced Speaker elected to the position since the 1870s. Three other candidates, Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) failed to convert their nominations into a successful floor vote, paving the way for Johnson.
Johnson may lack seniority, but he has a hardline, fundamentalist, and Trump-friendly record — which garnered a nod of approval from the former president hours before the vote. Trump was quick to congratulate Johnson after he won the gavel. “Congratulations to Rep. Mike Johnson,” he wrote on Truth Social. “He will be a GREAT ‘SPEAKER.’ MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
The most conservative members of the Republican Caucus are celebrating Johnson’s rise to the most powerful position in the House. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), the architect of McCarthy’s ouster, told far-right political activist Steve Bannon on Wednesday that “if you don’t think that moving from Kevin McCarthy to MAGA Mike Johnson shows the ascendance of this movement and where the power in the Republican Party truly lies, then you’re not paying attention.” [Continue reading…]
Johnson’s ascent could mark a major shift in rhetoric around energy, environmental and climate issues from the highest rungs of the leadership ladder: He has a record of downplaying the climate crisis and questioning the science linking human activity to global warming.
“The climate is changing, but the question is, is it being caused by natural cycles over the span of the Earth’s history? Or is it changing because we drive SUVs? I don’t believe in the latter,” he said at a town hall in 2017. “I don’t think that’s the primary driver.”
That assessment is a striking departure from the way McCarthy sought to appeal to a new generation of Republican voters by encouraging the development of a GOP energy policy plank while moving the party further away from its history of straight-up climate denialism. [Continue reading…]
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson has a history of harsh anti-gay language from his time as an attorney for a socially conservative legal group in the mid-2000s.
In editorials that ran in his local Shreveport, Louisiana, paper, The Times, Johnson called homosexuality a “inherently unnatural” and “dangerous lifestyle” that would lead to legalized pedophilia and possibly even destroy “the entire democratic system.”
And, in another editorial, he wrote, “Your race, creed, and sex are what you are, while homosexuality and cross-dressing are things you do,” he wrote. “This is a free country, but we don’t give special protections for every person’s bizarre choices.” [Continue reading…]