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Mike Johnson: Louisiana Republican elected as Speaker of US House of Representatives | US News

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What can we expect from Mike Johnson?

While the world has been focused on the Middle East, the world’s most powerful country has been rudderless.

For the last 22 days, the speaker’s chair on Capitol Hill has been empty. The position of second in line to the presidency has been vacant.

Government in America has been paralysed.

Now, a messy democratic process which had ousted the last speaker, Kevin McCarthy, has whittled down through 14 candidates, four nominees and three house floor votes and chosen Congressman Mike Johnson, 51, of Louisiana as the house speaker.

It is a pivotal role in American politics. The speaker is the visible and authoritative leader of the majority in the House. They drive the agenda, they set the debates.

There is a contradiction between Johnson’s character and his politics. He’s softly spoken, warm and calm in his demeanour.

Yet his political views are in line with the angry, shouty and divisive Trumpian politics which has dominated America in recent years.

A lawyer by trade, he was first elected to the House in 2016. He is an evangelical Christian from Louisiana, a member of the Christian right block of conservatives.

He ticks all the boxes for the Republican right in America. He supports a nationwide abortion ban, he opposes same-sex marriages, he does not believe in man-made climate change.

Environmental groups say he has received more campaign money from the oil and gas industry since being elected to congress than any other industry.

We can expect he will be at the heart of many battles with liberals and the president over America’s climate change agenda.

“The climate is changing,” he said in 2017, “but the question is, is it being caused by natural cycles over the span of the Earth’s history? Or is it changing because we drive SUVs? I don’t believe in the latter. I don’t think that’s the primary driver”.

He was among those who called for the overturning of the 2020 election, believing that Donald Trump had won. He lobbied to invalidate the results in multiple states.

In 2021, he wrote on X/Twitter: “I have just called President Trump to say this: ‘Stay strong and keep fighting, sir! The nation is depending upon your resolve. We must exhaust every available legal remedy to restore Americans’ trust in the fairness of our election system.'”

On the most immediately pressing issues, funding for Ukraine and Israel, both of which President Biden has called for, he is thought to be supportive. It’s likely he will call for more military aid for both conflicts.

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