DemDaily: Trump’s Speaker Prevails

October 25, 2023

Republicans ended their three-week stranglehold on the US House of Representatives today with the election of Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson as Speaker, their fourth nominee since historically ousting GOP Speaker Kevin McCarthy (CA) October 3.

Johnson was sworn in at 2:45pm today after having secured the unanimous vote of the 220 GOP members present in the chamber.

The bitter battle for the speakership has exposed the unprecedented divisions in the GOP conference, chaotically played out before the American public as the far-right faction of the party -- under the continued influence of former President Donald Trump -- has continued to wield its power.

Johnson's election came 24 hours after Trump publicly rejected the GOP conference's nomination of House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (MN), a moderate consensus candidate who voted to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump's first choice, Jim Jordan (OH) -- the controversial and confrontational co-founder of the extremist House Freedom Caucus -- withdrew after three rounds of failed voting last week.

While more moderate in demeanor, the four-term Johnson, 51, is no less conservative. A MAGA Republican, he has fought for a national abortion ban, voted against codifying same-sex marriage, opposed gun safety legislation, has a 0% rating with the AFL-CIO on labor rights, and, as the former chair of the Republican Study Committee, led efforts to cut funding for Social Security and Medicare.

Most significantly, Johnson, a constitutional lawyer, was the key architect of an amicus brief signed by over 100 Republican members of Congress that backed a flawed Texas lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Prior to his election to Congress in 2016, Johnson served as chief counsel and national media spokesman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal advocacy group that works to expand Christian practices within public schools and in government, outlaw abortion, and curtail the rights of LGBTQ people.

The election of Johnson actually feeds into Democrats' narrative about the "MAGA extremism" of the Republican Party and provides ample fodder for painting moderate and swing-district Republicans with the same brush as they go into the 2024 elections.

Although Johnson closed his acceptance speech with "The People's House is back in business," he declined to take questions from the press afterward.

"America," said House Democratic Caucus Congressman Pete Aguilar (CA), "deserves better than this.”

DemList will keep you informed.

DemDaily: The Chaos Conference 10/19/23
DemDaily: Day 15 10/18/23
DemDaily: The Bitter Battle for The Gavel 10/13/23
DemDaily: Holding The House Hostage 10/12/23
DemDaily: GOP House of Cards Crumbles 10/3/23

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: US House, New York Tines, NBC, DNC, Politico

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