The Republican Party‘s fourth nominee this month was Rep. Mike Johnson, a hard-line conservative and ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump after the historic ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Who are the 8 Republicans now trying to be House speaker amid historic gridlock
It was unclear whether the Louisiana lawmaker had the 217 votes necessary to secure the gavel while the House was voting on his nomination on Wednesday afternoon.
Johnson’s nomination is the most recent in the chaotic battle of speakers. The House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, the House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan Chairman, and the Majority Whip Tom Emmer are the other three lawmakers who could not unite the party sufficiently to succeed McCarthy, leaving one-half of Congress in an unprecedented limbo.
Mike Johnson: Who is he? and his role in the 2020 election, abortion access and religious concerns
Mike Johnson, 51, is completing his fourth term in Congress after being elected for the first time in 2016. Covering the state’s northwest region, he represents Louisiana‘s 4th Congressional District.
He spent over two years in the Louisiana State Legislature, from 2015 to 2017, before moving to Capitol Hill. In addition, he has legal experience, specializing in constitutional law.
Johnson is the fifth-ranking House Republican as the vice chair of the House Republican Conference.
The largest group of House Republicans, the Republican Study Committee, had him as its chairman in the past. He is also a member of the Armed Services and Judiciary committees. He has four children with Kelly, his wife.
Moreover, he led the effort to persuade 125 of his fellow Republicans to join an amicus brief supporting Texas‘s lawsuit before the Supreme Court that would have invalidated the election results in crucial battleground states.
President Joe Biden‘s election was called on November 7, 2020, and Johnson tweeted that he had spoken with Trump and that they will keep fighting for “election integrity.”
Johnson posted, “I have just called President Trump to say this: ‘Stay strong and keep fighting, sir! The nation is depending upon your resolve. We must exhaust every available legal remedy to restore Americans’ trust in the fairness of our election system,'”
During Trump’s two Senate trials on impeachment charges, he was a member of his legal defence team.
Johnson has a lengthy record of opposing the right to an abortion. He endorsed a bill that would outlaw abortion nationwide after 15 weeks, except for rape, incest, and the mother’s life.
Where Johnson is from, Louisiana has a complete ban on abortions with very few exceptions. Johnson additionally endorsed legislation that would outlaw abortions beyond six to seven weeks nationwide.
Johnson came under fire in May 2022 during a congressional hearing for a line of questioning directed at board members of a reproductive rights group.
“Do you support the right of a woman who is just seconds away from birthing a healthy child to have an abortion?” asked the man.
Johnson was reminded by the witness that “that has never happened.”
“Never happened in your practice, ma’am, but it happens,” he replied.
Johnson is a devout Christian evangelist. In a podcast, he stated that he disagreed with the separation of church and state.
He referred to the “so-called separation of church and state,” stating that “the founders wanted to protect the church from an encroaching state, not the other way around.”
“If anybody tries to convince you that your biblical beliefs or your religious viewpoint need to be separated from public affairs, you should politely remind them to review their history, and you should not back down.”
Over the past seven decades, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” creates a barrier between the state and the religious community.
Johnson has also voted against help to Ukraine on multiple occasions. Furthermore, he has been against same-sex marriage protections.
What is to be anticipated if a new speaker is chosen?
As soon as a speaker is sworn in, a sign bearing the new speaker’s name is hung above the speaker’s Capitol office door, and the speaker takes instant charge.
The next speaker will take office with several pressing needs, including finding a means to finance the government to prevent a partial shutdown that would harm millions of federal employees and social service beneficiaries. Additionally, the speaker must work towards aiding Israel and Ukraine.
If elected as speaker, Johnson listed seven objectives in a letter to colleagues on Saturday, including focusing on effective messaging, promoting individual members, and restoring trust.
He wrote, “We all agree the urgency of this hour demands a specific plan and bold, decisive action.”
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