House Speaker Mike Johnson Wins Gavel

( – Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) likely didn’t anticipate the firestorm he triggered when he spearheaded the effort to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker earlier this year. The MAGA Republican made his move on October 3, when he submitted a motion to vacate the position of Speaker of the House.

House Ousts McCarthy

McCarthy still had a little fight left in him, and he called for a vote to table the motion, but that effort failed by a vote of 218 to 208. The chamber voted to replace him as Speaker, 216 to 210. Eight Republicans voted to oust him along with all the Democrats in the chamber that day. Seven representatives didn’t vote, and the House has two vacancies.

A week later, former President Donald Trump endorsed conservative firebrand and longtime ally Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), but Republicans nominated House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), the then-most powerful GOP lawmaker in the chamber. He quickly dropped out after questions about his health started circulating, and Jordan had his chance to become the Speaker.

Like Scalise, Jordan eventually withdrew his candidacy after three failed bids to secure the required votes. Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota was the next nominee, but he dropped out within hours of winning the Republicans’ nomination.

On October 25, GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) stepped out of the shadows and nominated a little-known lawmaker from Louisiana, Rep. Mike Johnson. Republicans reported jumped to their feet and offered an extended standing ovation to the new nominee behind closed doors, and he secured the necessary votes to lead the chamber after a 22-day standoff with ultra-conservatives.

Mike Johnson Wins the Gavel — What Now?

Top Republicans quickly offered endorsements, including McCarthy, Jordan, and Scalise. Johnson easily picked up enough votes on the first ballot and promptly took the oath of office, emerging victorious as the 56th Speaker of the House.

Later that day, Matt Gaetz praised Johnson’s ascension on his “Firebrand Podcast.” He told listeners they weren’t paying attention if they hadn’t noted that the shift from “Kevin McCarthy to MAGA Mike” showed the rise of “this movement, and where the power of the Republican Party truly lies.”

Johnson’s record in the House indicates how he might lead on central issues. For instance, he played a leading role in questioning the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. He doesn’t believe human activity has contributed to the so-called climate crisis.

Likewise, Johnson opposes legal abortion and LGBTQ rights. He voted against sending funds to Ukraine — though he has seemingly reversed course on that — and has already indicated his intention not to cede any ground to Democrats during the upcoming effort to keep the government funded.

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