Trump ally Mike Johnson elected House speaker
By Clare Foran, Haley Talbot, Morgan Rimmer and Kristin Wilson, CNN
(CNN) — The Republican-led House elected Rep. Mike Johnson as the new House speaker on Wednesday – a major leadership change that comes three weeks after the historic ouster of Kevin McCarthy. Johnson, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump and a key congressional figure in the failed efforts to overturn the 2020 election, will now take the reins of the bitterly divided House Republican majority and faces the looming threat of a government shutdown next month.
Johnson’s elevation puts an end to the paralysis the House had been stuck in after McCarthy was pushed out by hardline conservatives – an unprecedented move that plunged the chamber into uncharted territory. Republicans tried and failed three separate times to coalesce behind a new speaker nominee before ultimately uniting around Johnson, a conservative lawmaker who has so far had a relatively low profile on the national stage. In a remarkable show of unity following weeks of fierce GOP infighting, the Louisiana Republican was elected with 220 votes and no Republican defections.
The new speaker will now face a litany of pressing issues. Government funding is set to expire on November 17, and the GOP-controlled House will need to work with the Democratic-led Senate to avert a shutdown, setting up an early leadership test for Johnson. Lawmakers must also decide whether to send further aid to Ukraine as it fights a war against Russian aggression as well as aid to Israel in its war against Hamas. There is widespread bipartisan support for aid to Israel, but many House Republicans are opposed to sending additional aid to Ukraine.
Johnson was first elected to the House in 2016 and has previously served as vice chairman of the House Republican Conference. A Trump ally, he supported objections to Electoral College results when Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win on January 6, 2021 – the day a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol seeking to overturn the results of the election. He also lobbied fellow House Republicans to support a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the election. A reporter was loudly booed by House GOP members for asking Johnson after he became the speaker-designate if he stands by his decision to support overturning the election.
Johnson secured the nomination for the speakership late Tuesday evening. The vote capped off a chaotic day that started with Republicans picking Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer to be their latest nominee only for him to drop out hours later after facing stiff resistance from the right flank of the conference and a rebuke from Trump. The day ended with a vote to elect a new nominee – this time, Johnson won out.
After winning the party nomination, Emmer faced swift opposition from the right flank of his conference as well as a rebuke from Trump. In a post on Truth Social, Trump called Emmer a “Globalist RINO,” and said that voting for him “would be a tragic mistake.”
This story has been updated with additional developments.
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