House elects Mike Johnson as speaker, ending three weeks of chaos | ET REALITY


Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana won election Wednesday as the 56th speaker of the House of Representatives, ending three weeks of chaos that left the chamber leaderless and exposed Republican divisions.

Republicans elevated Johnson, 51, a little-known and deeply conservative lawmaker, after a tumultuous fight. It began after the far right ousted President Kevin McCarthy, and continued as the divided Republican Party nominated and then quickly ruled out three other candidates to succeed him.

Worn down by a brutal spate of infighting that unleashed a barrage of recriminations and violent threats against lawmakers, both the party’s far-right flank and traditional Republicans united to elect Johnson in a 220-209 vote.

Republicans jumped to their feet and applauded after Rep. Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, speaker pro tem, declared that Johnson was the “duly elected speaker of the House of Representatives.”

Johnson, a socially conservative lawyer who opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage, also played a leading role in congressional efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Wednesday’s vote put him second in line for the presidency, capping an extraordinary period of twists and turns on Capitol Hill. The far right, which has become a dominant force in the Republican Party, rose up and effectively dictated the removal of an establishment spokesperson and the installation of an ultra-conservative replacement.

In a speech outlining his rise up the political ladder in Louisiana to Congress, Johnson promised to try to “restore the faith of the people in this House.” He cited sending aid to Israel, repairing a “broken” southern border and controlling federal spending as his top legislative priorities.

“The challenge before us is great, but now is the time to act,” Johnson said shortly after being elected. “And I won’t let you down.”

In evoking his evangelical Christian faith, Mr. Johnson repeatedly referenced Scripture. “The Bible is very clear that God is the one who raises up those in authority,” he said. “He resurrected each one of you, all of us. And I believe that God has ordained and allowed each of us to be brought here for this specific time.”

In a nod to simmering frustrations among the far-right flank of the party that ultimately ousted McCarthy, the California Republican, Johnson promised that his office “will be known for decentralizing power.”

Elected to Congress in 2016, Johnson is the youngest lawmaker in decades to become president.

Perhaps it is also the most conservative. Johnson is the former chairman of the Republican Study Committee and sponsored legislation to effectively ban discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in any institution that serves children under 10 and receives federal funds.

He served in the administration of former President Donald J. Trump. impeachment defense teamplayed a leading role in recruiting House Republicans to sign a legal brief supporting a lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election and was one of the architects of Trump’s attempt to object to the certification of the results in Congress on January 6, 2021.

Democrats were scathing in their assessment of Johnson’s rise to the presidency. Rep. Pete Aguilar of California, chairman of the Democratic conference, said the speakers’ fight had become a contest over “who can appease Donald Trump.” Along those lines, a handful of far-right Republicans stood up and applauded.

They booed traditional Republicans who faced tough re-election races next year in swing districts as they rose to vote for Johnson. After Reps. Mike Lawler and Marc Molinaro, both of New York, each voted for the Louisiana Republican, one Democrat could be heard yelling, “Bye!”

Johnson immediately faces a series of challenges that beset his predecessor, McCarthy. He faces a mid-November deadline to approve a measure to fund the government to avoid a shutdown. And he will have to lead a deeply divided conference on foreign policy as Congress considers the Biden administration’s $105 billion funding request for Israel, Ukraine and the southern border.

Mr. Johnson has opposed continued funding over the war in Ukraine, which has emerged as a bitter dividing line in the Republican Party, and over the spending battles it will have to navigate in the coming days.

After President Biden was told during a White House press conference that a new president had been elected, Biden said, “I hope that’s true. Because we have to get going.”

Asked if he was concerned, given the Republican president’s history, that he would try again to overturn the election in 2024, Biden responded flatly: “No. In the same way that I was not worried that the last campaign would annul the elections.”

Johnson was able to rally both the far-right and traditional flanks of the party that had taken turns to sink the presidential candidates. But it was also clear that Republicans were eager to end the weeks-long spectacle of mass dysfunction and paralysis that many said had left their constituents distraught.

“From an outsider’s point of view, these last few weeks probably look like total chaos, confusion, with no end in sight,” said Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the third Republican who just hours after being nominated for president was abandoned by the party of his party. extreme right flank. “But from my perspective, this is one of the greatest experiences in the recent history of our republic.”

Traditional Conservatives who backed Johnson said they were eager to bring the House out of its paralysis.

“While there are issues on which we disagree, we must return to governing for the good of the country,” Lawler wrote on social media, posting a photo of him and Johnson shaking hands.

A bloc of Republicans had opposed the presidential bid of Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the far-right co-founder of the Freedom Caucus, because of his role in helping lead Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. But some said they did not have the same concerns about Johnson.

Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado said Johnson was not involved in post-election efforts to overturn the results, even though Johnson was a key player in those activities. “People can make mistakes and still be very good speakers,” Buck said.

And far-right Republicans who voted to unseat McCarthy, setting in motion the three-week period of chaos that left the House without a leader, said Johnson’s rise to the top job made their decision to unseat the Republican of California was worth it. he.

“This reaffirms the path we took,” said Rep. Bob Good of Virginia.

The report was contributed by Lucas Broadwater, Robert Jimison, Kayla Guo, Michael D. Shear and Erica L. Green.

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