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What You Need To Know About The New Speaker Of The House

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

As of Oct. 25, 2023, Representative Mike Johnson of the state of Louisiana was elected Speaker of the House through a 220 to 209 vote against Representative Hakeem Jeffries, who is the House Minority Leader. Johnson being elected came after weeks of infighting between Republicans and their inability to work together to choose a leader. Other potential Speakers of the House, like Steve Scalise, another representative hailing from the state of Louisiana, failed to reach the 217 votes that are necessary to become speaker and dropped out due to this issue as well. And if you’re confused by all of this because “Didn’t we just elect another Speaker of the House recently?” you would be correct.

Kevin McCarthy, who is a representative of California, was elected Speaker of the House, on Jan. 7, 2023, after 15 votes. That’s right: 14 votes took place before McCarthy’s win due to polarizing Republicans like Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, and Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, both Trump loyalists who refused to vote for McCarthy by either proposing alternatives for House Speaker or by just voting as present. McCarthy was later ousted as House Speaker by a charge led by Representative Matt Gaetz himself, on Oct. 3, 2023, less than a year later.

who is he?

Rep. Mike Johnson is the Republican representative of “Louisiana’s Fourth District.” He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on December 10, 2016.” He previously worked for 20 years as a constitutional lawyer. He is currently the “Vice Chairman of the House Republican Conference.” He also serves on committees like the House Judiciary Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government, and the Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. 

Johnson is also an instrumental part in the denial of the 2020 election results and the January 6, 2021 insurrection. He and 100 other Republican Representatives signed an amicus brief that supported a Texas Lawsuit that sought to “invalidate the 2020 election results in four swing states Biden won: George, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.” A request that apparently came from Trump himself, who asked Johnson to seek the support of fellow Republicans in the Senate and House for their case. Sending them an email pleading for their support with the inclusion of a subject line that read, “Time-sensitive request from President Trump.” An Attorney General hailing from one of these battleground states stated that this lawsuit is nothing but, “a publicity stunt, not a serious legal pleading.” 

Johnson added further fuel to the fire when he echoed Trump’s lies regarding voting machines being used to rig the election. Appearing on a radio show, a few weeks after the infamous 2020 election, stated that there’s been a small portion of irregularity or fraud, in every U.S. election, but in 2020, it appeared to be on a large scale. He cited the software system in voting machines for these “fraud or irregularity,” due to it coming from “Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.” He claimed that Georgia is the site where a majority of this rigging takes place, and that, “it was set up for the Biden team to win.” On the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, Johnson tweeted, “We MUST fight for election integrity, the Constitution, and the preservation of our republic! It will be my honor to help lead that fight in the Congress today.” Johnson would later condemn the violence that took place, but would continue to vote, to “overturn Biden’s wins in Arizona and Pennsylvania.” Since his election as Speaker, Johnson has refused to discuss any of his actions leading to and on Jan. 6.

Why should we care?

In addition to his role in attempting to overturn a presidential election, and in sighting an insurrection, our new Speaker of the House, has very alarming beliefs regarding everything. Speaker Mike Johnson claims that his faith influences everything he does, and most importantly, it’s a key aspect of his role as a legislator. During his campaign for Representative, Johnson stated, “I was called to legal ministry and I’ve been out on the front lines of the ‘culture war’ defending religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and biblical values, including the defense of traditional marriage, and other ideals like these when they’ve been under assault.” He’s worked as a lawyer and in the state legislature to ensure marriage equality and pro-abortion laws wouldn’t be passed in Louisiana. And he’s bringing these “Christian Beliefs” to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Johnson is someone many have begun to call a Christian Nationalist. According to Christianity Today, Christian nationalism, “is belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way… and that America is and must remain a ‘Christian nation.'” When questioned by Fox News on how he will proceed with creating future policies, Johnson stated that he will be citing the Bible as “the sole legitimate source for public policy.” Johnson has gone as far as saying that the birth of our nation and the Constitution stems from God’s biblical teachings, so any laws must reflect God’s sayings. Essentially calling “the separation of church and state a myth.”

Johnson, in his time in Congress, has proven that he stands firm to fight further against “the wokeness” that’s plaguing America by seeking to end abortions, the protection of gay marriage, and more. In response to Roe v. Wade being overturned, Johnson tweeted hoping that the number of abortions in America would soon become zero. And he recently proposed a bill that would have the Constitution grant the “right to life” from conception. In regards to gay marriage, he’s voted against the legislature, “that would require states to recognize same-sex marriages that were legal where they were performed.” And despite being elected the same day as the Lewiston mass shooting, Johnson is staunchly against any form of gun control and simply stated we should pray for those affected. House Republicans remain proud of their decision, despite the ever-growing threat of civil rights being stripped.

Concluding thoughts

It appears this Speaker of the House is here to stay, despite the threat of another possible government shutdown still looming. Republicans, importantly out-spoken MAGA supporters, have yet to come out criticizing Johnson like they did his predecessor, and have staunchly defended him against any claims that he was partly responsible for January 6. Democrats even seem supportive, as some are in favor of his plan to prevent a shutdown.

Sagal M

U Conn '25

Sagal is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut. She's studying Political Science. She's hopes to become a lawyer focusing on civil rights law. Her favorite hobbies are watching rom-coms and reading books.