Republicans unanimously elect ‘MAGA Mike’ Johnson as next Speaker
New Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., is a loyalist of former President Donald Trump. | Photos: AP / Graphic Design: People's World

WASHINGTON—On their fourth try, the House’s ruling Republicans finally elected a new Speaker: Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., who not only denied Joe Biden’s election as president in the infamous events of Jan. 6, 2021, but before that rounded up other Republicans to support a Texas scheme to toss the 2020 election out.

With his elevation to the top job in Congress, no one can argue that the Trumpite MAGA faction of the Republican Party is just a fringe element. MAGA is now in charge; this is Trump’s party, through and through.

Republicans have just unanimously elected a Speaker who is:

  • The architect of the House GOP’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election;
  • Voted against the Violence Against Women Act;
  • Voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act;
  • Voted against legislation to codify marriage equality;
  • Authored federal legislation attempting to nationalize Florida’s infamous “Don’t say gay” law; and
  • Co-sponsored legislation to turn health professionals who provide gender-affirming care into felons.

Johnson’s list of anti-people offenses doesn’t stop there. Of course, he’s anti-labor, too.

In all the photos of Johnson and his allies on Capitol Hill, he’s flanked by notorious worker- and union-hater Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. She chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee, which handles labor laws, and has told North Carolina media she believes unions should be illegal.

As for Johnson’s lifetime AFL-CIO voting record, it shows he’s only agreed with the labor federation 10% of the time. Last year, he tallied a zero.

Not only that, but when a reporter asked Johnson about his involvement with Trump, Foxx led the boos and jeers and, with Johnson smilingly looking on, ordered the reporter to shut up.

“Next question,” Johnson said.

When it comes to the effort to overthrow the 2020 election and keep Trump in office, Johnson was right in the thick of it all.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and other right-wing AGs went to the Supreme Court to challenge the Biden-won electoral votes in four key swing states—Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Paxton claimed his voters were hurt because those four swing states “changed the rules” to count votes, after the November 2020 balloting, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The justices tossed Paxton’s suit, but not before Johnson, at Trump’s urging, got 100 other Republicans to join him in a friend-of-the-court brief siding with Trump. The then-Oval Office occupant took notice.

“President Trump called me this morning to express his great appreciation for our effort to file an amicus brief in the Texas case on behalf of concerned Members of Congress,” Johnson wrote in a December 2020 e-mail, which NBC News obtained.

“He specifically asked me to contact all Republican Members of the House and Senate today and request that all join on to our brief,” Johnson continued. “He said he will be anxiously awaiting the final list to review.” Battleground-state Attorneys General called Paxton’s suit—and by extension, Johnson’s roundup of support for it—“a publicity stunt.”

Though the 2020 coup effort ended up going down to defeat, having a Trump loyalist in control of Congress during the 2024 election and in the weeks that follow could spell trouble for democracy. Had someone like Johnson occupied the Speaker’s chair in 2020 instead of Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., things might have taken a much darker turn than they did.

Besides being a loyal Trumpite, Johnson promptly tackled one cause dear to a big campaign contributor upon becoming Speaker: Israel. He brought to the floor, as the first order of business, a resolution strongly endorsing Israel’s war on the Palestinian people in Gaza. He, predictably, disregarded a resolution sponsored by Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., and others calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and for Israel to allow in humanitarian aid for civilians.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the extremely right-wing and pro-Netanyahu lobby, donated $25,000, including $10,000, the maximum, from its campaign finance committee (PAC) to Johnson’s 2021-22 congressional campaign in his Shreveport, La.-based congressional district. He won re-election easily. reported AIPAC and its members were Johnson’s #5 donor overall.

Oil and gas interests gave $84,500 to Johnson in the last cycle, added. Though AIPAC was his biggest individual PAC donor, their PACs totaled $34,350 of the overall figure. That’s no great surprise: Shreveport and its surrounding area are part of the Texas-Louisiana “Oil Patch.”

Johnson also tried to extend Florida’s infamous “Don’t say gay” law nationwide. Even before that, and before his Louisiana state legislative service, Johnson was an attorney for the so-called Alliance Defending Freedom. The Southern Poverty Law Center, the nation’s leading tracker of hate groups, has the alliance on its list.

“Johnson sponsored a national ‘Don’t Say LGBTQ+’ bill in the last session of Congress, legislation that would have defined ‘sexually oriented material’ to include ‘any topic involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgenderism, sexual orientation, or related subjects” and banned discussion of those topics in schools, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading pro-gay rights group, reported. The bill went nowhere.

Johnson also tried to push a ban on gender-affirming surgery through the House Judiciary Committee last year but lost.

“The MAGA House majority has selected the most anti-equality Speaker in U.S. history by elevating Mike Johnson,” said Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson. “This is a choice that will be a stain on the record of everyone who voted for him.

“Johnson…doesn’t hesitate to express his disdain for the LGTBQ+ community from the rooftops and then introduces legislation that seeks to erase us from society. Just like Jim Jordan, Mike Johnson is an election-denying, anti-LGBTQ+ extremist, and the lawmakers who appeared to stand on principle in opposing Jordan’s bid have revealed themselves to be just as out-of-touch as their new leader.”

As for women’s rights and health, Johnson is anything but a friend. He has openly suggested that women should be forced to give birth in order to increase the number of “able-bodied workers” for the economy. He touted forced birth as a solution for Social Security and Medicare funding shortfalls. He has advocated sentencing doctors who perform abortions to imprisonment and “hard labor.”

Johnson’s extreme right-wing positions have earned him a nickname among progressives: “MAGA Mike.” Given his intense loyalty to the agenda of Trump and the fascist wing of the Republican Party, though, it’s a moniker he would probably embrace.

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Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.