Mike Johnson’s election as Speaker is a victory for Trump and extremists

Mike Johnson is the new Speaker of the House.

Mike Johnson is the new Speaker of the House. Photo: Getty

The US has finally elected a Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, a staunch conservative who echoed conspiracies related to the 2020 election.

Following a turbulent few weeks in politics, Johnson was voted in as Speaker just weeks after Kevin McCarthy was ousted by a small group of Republicans.

Johnson, also a Republican, has held office since 2016 and is the least experienced Speaker in decades.

However, in his short time representing the state of Louisiana, he has made a name for himself by aligning with former president Donald Trump and attempting to help him overturn the 2020 election.

Mike Johnson

Republican Mike Johnson of Louisiana is the new US House of Representatives Speaker. Photo: Getty

Who is Mike Johnson?

“I am a Christian, a husband, a father, a life-long conservative, constitutional law attorney and a small business owner in that order,” Johnson told the Louisiana Baptist Message newspaper in 2016.

Before Congress, Johnson worked as a lawyer, working on religious freedom issues and successfully defending his home state’s same-sex marriage ban in the early 2000s.

He was also a member of the Louisiana state House in 2015 before running for Congress the following year.

Media Matters noted that Johnson has a long history of “anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion extremism”.

He has introduced federal versions of Florida’s controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, which decimates federal funding for organisations, schools and libraries that discussed gay or trans identities.

He has argued against parents accessing gender-affirming care for children, claiming it was “abuse” and, according to CNN, in op-eds he referred to homosexuality as “inherently unnatural”.

Additionally, he was one of many Republicans who co-sponsored a bill that would ban abortion across all states in America.

Dr Emma Shortis, a senior researcher in international and security affairs at the Australian Institute, told The New Daily these kinds of conservative views have always existed in America.

“But the way they’ve been emboldened, lifted up and given power by Trump’s capture of the Republican Party is really quite frightening because it has material consequences, particularly for vulnerable people,” she said.

Johnson is ‘part of the Trump era’

Former White House adviser under Trump, Steve Bannon, made a point of saying that Johnson was “part of the Trump era”.

“All he’s known is the Trump era. He came – he won in ’16 when President Trump came from behind to win in the great ’16 election. He’s been here,” Bannon said on Real America’s Voice.

Johnson is perhaps best known as the author of an unsuccessful appeal by 126 House Republicans to get the Supreme Court to overturn election results in states that Trump had lost in the 2020 presidential election.

“He was one of the intellectual architects of pushing back on the stolen election,” Bannon said, adding the “mainstream media” would now “try to tear this guy’s face off”, due to him being ultra conservative.

In an interview with Fox News as the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 was taking place, while lawmakers were inside trying to certify the election results in favour of Joe Biden, Johnson remained defiant.

“I’m here as one of the advocates on the Republican side, stating our concerns about this election, the allegations of fraud and the irregularity and all that,” he said.

At a press conference after being voted in as Speaker, Johnson refused to answer questions about his part in trying to overturn the election.

However, he has made his views on the 2020 presidential election and the January 6 insurrection abundantly clear in the past.

After the election was called for Biden, Johnson called Trump and urged him to “keep fighting”.

On the morning of January 6, he posted on X (formerly Twitter) saying people should fight for “election integrity”.

Trump on Johnson

Johnson has been an avid Trump supporter and the former president has also expressed his support for the new Speaker.

Trump said he believes Johnson will be a “great Speaker”, adding he believes he is a “tremendous leader”.

We’ll have to wait and see whether Johnson’s appointment will benefit Trump, Shortis said. However, she does believe Johnson represents a victory for the MAGA extremists within the GOP and for Trump.

“It’s absolutely a victory for Trump’s Republican Party. How much of an impact that he [Johnson] has, how capable I suppose he is, as a Speaker, I think is is yet to be seen,” Shortis said.

“Because aside from those really prominent roles in January 6 and efforts to overturn the electoral college it I think he’s a bit of an unknown quantity in terms of his actual leadership.”

What will Johnson do next?

Johnson has already said he would soon call up legislation to signal support for Israel, which has stepped up its bombings of Gaza following a cross-border killing and kidnapping spree by Hamas militants early this month.

“The first bill I’m going to bring to this floor in a little while will be in support of our dear friend Israel and we are overdue in getting that done,” Johnson said as he accepted the speakership.

The House backed the resolution by 412 to 10, with six members voting “present”, reflecting traditional strong support in Congress for the Jewish state.

He will have to respond to Biden’s $106 spending request to aid Israel, Ukraine and the US border.

pictured is Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson was voted Speaker weeks after Kevin McCarthy’s own party ousted him. Photo: AP

Republicans largely supporting funding Israel and the border, however, are divided on further support for Ukraine.

Johnson is opposed to sending Ukraine aid to defend itself against Russia.

In a letter to colleagues, Johnson has vowed to advance overdue spending legislation and ensure that the US government does not shut down when current funding expires on November 17.

He has stated that border security will be a top priority, as will establishing a bipartisan commission to examine how to tackle the county’s multi-trillion-dollar national debt.

His role as Speaker of the House means he is now second in line for the presidency. As Johnson was named Speaker, Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese was in the US.

“I think for me, having Albanese in the States as this is happening, I think kind of highlights the kind of disconnect between the way we see the US as our ally and what’s happening domestically in the US,” Shortis said.

“The kind of chaos in American democracy and the fragility of American democracy, really has significant potential consequences for us.”

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