House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries called newly-elected House Speaker Mike Johnson an “extreme right-wing ideologue.” Jeffries told CNN that Johnson wants to criminalize abortion nationwide, tried to overturn the 2020 Presidential election result, and “wants to end Social Security and Medicare as we know it.” Jeffries added, “Those are extreme views.”
Mr. Johnson became Speaker of the House of Representatives on October 25 after weeks of turmoil. Floridian Rep. Matt Gaetz led the charge to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and several attempts to replace him failed at the ballot box. Republicans initially nominated House Majority Leader Steve Scalise for the post, but he pulled out of the contest, leaving Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan at the front of the field. In three ballots, however, Jordan failed to gain the 217 votes required and subsequently withdrew.
The new Speaker, from Louisiana, delivered his opening speech on the evening of October 25 and told Democrats that he knows both parties love the country and want the best for the American people, and that is the common ground both parties stand on. He paid tribute to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy and said Republicans would not enjoy a majority without his leadership.
Former President Donald Trump gave his best wishes to the new Speaker and said the GOP had made the right decision. He told reporters in New York that Johnson will do a great job and he had never heard a negative word about him from Republicans. “Everybody likes him,” he said.
Johnson is a long-term Trump ally and was one of the earliest Republicans to back the former President in his allegation that the 2020 election was rigged. He referred to Manhattan DA Alvin Johnson, who was the first to indict President Trump, as a “Soros-funded, violent crime-ignoring” attorney who was part of the “weaponization” of the criminal justice system against Republicans and conservatives. “We will keep fighting around the clock to expose and defeat their perverse agenda,” he tweeted.