Mike Johnson: The New Speaker of the House, a Devoted Trump Supporter and a Subtle Influence in Republican Circles

by Michael Nguyen
Mike Johnson

A relatively obscure Congressional figure for nearly a decade, Mike Johnson, the newly elected Speaker of the House, might not be a household name in America. However, as a staunch social conservative and a faithful ally to former President Donald Trump, he has quietly made his influence felt within the Republican conference that he now unexpectedly helms.

Johnson’s significant achievement came when he secured all of the 220 Republican votes to clinch the Speaker’s position on the House floor. This feat was not accomplished by any of his more high-profile colleagues, and it ended the Republicans’ three-week struggle to find a replacement for the ousted Kevin McCarthy.

Reputed for his deep religious convictions, the Louisiana Republican refers to himself as a “servant.” Colleagues are optimistic that his leadership will bring stability and a fresh beginning, helping the party overcome the entrenched divisions that have plagued GOP House leaders for the past ten years.

Elise Stefanik, the Republican conference chairwoman, described Johnson as “a friend to all and an enemy to none” during her nomination speech prior to the vote for the Speaker’s position.

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At 51, Johnson comes into the role without the burden of a high public profile, promising to restore trust in Congress under these exceptional circumstances. He assumes leadership following weeks of internal disputes, failed candidacies, and legislative inaction.

Questions remain, however, about Johnson’s ability to unite a deeply fragmented Republican conference, especially as the House delves immediately into contentious debates on government spending. Doubts also linger among Democrats, who are wary of his socially conservative record and his past support for Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.

In his inaugural address to the House, Johnson made frequent references to his Christian faith and his upbringing. He pledged to act swiftly on conservative priorities like support for Israel and strengthening border security. “The time for action is now,” Johnson declared, “I will not let you down.”

A constitutional attorney and former Louisiana state House member, Johnson was elected to the U.S. House in 2016. He is both the first Louisianan and the first Southerner to serve as Speaker since Republican Newt Gingrich of Georgia in the 1990s.

Among the most conservative GOP members, Johnson has consistently opposed abortion rights and was against last year’s legislation that would mandate states to recognize legal same-sex marriages.

Previously active on the House Judiciary Committee, Johnson gained some visibility as a prominent Republican interrogator during Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2019. He remained one of Trump’s principal defenders through the 2020 election, rallying support for an unsuccessful lawsuit aimed at overturning some election outcomes.

Trump expressed confidence in Johnson, stating that he will “make us all proud.” Former Georgia Rep. Doug Collins emphasized Johnson’s calm approach during turbulent times, particularly his advisory role using his constitutional law background.

Democrats have concerns about Johnson, particularly his past support for Trump’s efforts to contest the 2020 election results. Despite the controversies, Johnson has received support from both moderate and far-right Republicans.

Johnson is also an ardent supporter of Louisiana’s oil and gas sector and has been a recipient of significant campaign contributions from the industry. He has, like many of his Republican colleagues, downplayed the issue of climate change.

In an initial gesture after his election, Johnson expressed his willingness to work with Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also expressed hopes for bipartisan cooperation to prevent a government shutdown.

While Johnson’s leadership has unified Republicans, at least temporarily, the longevity of this unity remains uncertain.

“Nobody dislikes him yet,” humorously noted Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. “That’s his best attribute.”

Contributors to this report include Kevin Freking, Stephen Groves, Lisa Mascaro, Farnoush Amiri, Jill Colvin, and Matthew Daly from Big Big News.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mike Johnson

Who is Mike Johnson, the new Speaker of the House?

Mike Johnson is a Republican Congressman from Louisiana who has been elected as the new Speaker of the House. He has served in Congress for nearly a decade and is known for his deep religious convictions and social conservatism.

How did Mike Johnson become Speaker?

Mike Johnson secured all 220 votes from the Republican members in the House of Representatives, achieving unanimous GOP support. This ended the Republicans’ three-week struggle to find a successor to the ousted Kevin McCarthy.

What is Mike Johnson’s political background?

Before serving in the U.S. Congress, Mike Johnson was a constitutional attorney and a member of the Louisiana state House. He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016.

What are some of Johnson’s policy positions?

Mike Johnson is a staunch social conservative who opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage. He has also been a strong supporter of the oil and gas industry, particularly in Louisiana.

How are Democrats responding to Johnson’s election?

Democrats have expressed concerns about Johnson, primarily due to his past support for Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. However, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have expressed a willingness to work with him.

How is Johnson expected to handle divisions within the Republican Party?

While it’s too early to say definitively, Johnson has received support from both moderate and far-right Republicans. Colleagues believe his leadership could bring stability and a fresh start to the party.

What did former President Donald Trump say about Mike Johnson’s election?

Donald Trump has expressed confidence in Mike Johnson, stating that he will “make us all proud.”

How does Johnson plan to work with Democrats?

In an initial gesture following his election, Johnson told Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries that he looked forward to working with him. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also expressed hopes for bipartisan cooperation.

Is Mike Johnson the first Speaker from Louisiana?

Yes, Mike Johnson is the first Speaker of the House to come from Louisiana. He is also the first Southerner to serve as Speaker since Republican Newt Gingrich of Georgia in the 1990s.

What were the circumstances under which Johnson was elected?

Mike Johnson was elected Speaker of the House after weeks of internal Republican disputes, failed candidacies, and legislative inaction. Despite this backdrop, he received unanimous support from his party.

More about Mike Johnson

  • Mike Johnson’s Congressional Profile
  • History of the Speaker of the House
  • Donald Trump’s Political Allies
  • Overview of Louisiana Politics
  • U.S. House Republican Conference
  • GOP Struggle to Replace Kevin McCarthy
  • Hakeem Jeffries’ Congressional Profile
  • Chuck Schumer’s Senate Profile
  • 2020 Presidential Election Controversies
  • Republican Party Divisions and Future

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Tony Ramirez October 26, 2023 - 3:26 am

Johnson and Trump, birds of a feather huh. Just what we needed, more Trump influence in politics.

Cynthia Adams October 26, 2023 - 3:57 am

As a Louisiana native, I can say Johnson has been a divisive figure here too. His rise to Speaker makes me both curious and a bit anxious.

Chris Evans October 26, 2023 - 5:19 am

It’s about time the GOP gets its act together. If Johnson’s the guy to do it, more power to him.

Ben Williams October 26, 2023 - 10:16 am

So he’s got the Trump stamp of approval. That alone tells me a lot, and not all of it good. Guess we’ll see how it plays out.

Sara Miller October 26, 2023 - 10:37 am

didn’t know much about him before. Let’s see if this guy can actually unify the Republicans or if it’s just more of the same.

Emily Davis October 26, 2023 - 12:16 pm

I’m concerned bout his stance on social issues, esp abortion and LGBTQ+ rights. Doesnt look like someone who will work well with Dems.

Alice Walker October 26, 2023 - 1:30 pm

he’s got a tough road ahead if he’s gonna sort out the mess in Congress. Fingers crossed for some real progress.

Rachel Li October 26, 2023 - 10:00 pm

Unanimous GOP support? That’s unheard of these days. Either he’s a brilliant politician or we’re in for a surprise.

Jack Thompson October 26, 2023 - 11:04 pm

Wow, Mike Johnson as Speaker is really a wild card. Didn’t see this coming at all! Hope he can bring some stability.

Mark Johnson October 27, 2023 - 12:46 am

Finally, a Speaker from the South! It’s about time we get some representation up there. Louisiana must be proud.


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