Anxious Republicans prepared to vote once more Wednesday, hopeful of electing Rep. Mike Johnson as their House speaker to unite their fractious majority and end weeks of chaos by elevating a little-known conservative to one of the highest seats of U.S. power.
Johnson of Louisiana, a lower-ranked member of the House GOP leadership team, becomes the fourth Republican nominee in what has become an almost absurd cycle of political infighting since Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as GOP factions jockey for power. While not the party’s top choice for the gavel, the deeply religious and even-keeled Johnson has few foes and an important GOP backer: Donald Trump.
“I think he’s gonna be a fantastic speaker,” Trump said Wednesday at the New York courthouse where the former president, who is now the Republican frontrunner for president in 2024, is on trial over charges of business fraud.
Trump said he hadn’t heard “one negative comment about him. Everybody likes him.”
As the House convened at noon, Johnson, who won the GOP majority behind closed doors but still needed all Republicans in the public roll call to win the gavel, said he felt “very good.”
Three weeks on without a House speaker, the Republicans have been wasting their majority status — a maddening embarrassment to some, democracy in action to others, but not at all how the House is expected to function.