Mike Johnson
Official portrait, 2022
56th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Assumed office
October 25, 2023
Preceded byKevin McCarthy[a]
Leader of the House Republican Conference
Assumed office
October 25, 2023
Preceded byKevin McCarthy
Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 2021 – October 25, 2023
LeaderKevin McCarthy
Preceded byMark Walker
Succeeded byBlake Moore
Chair of the Republican Study Committee
In office
January 3, 2019 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byMark Walker
Succeeded byJim Banks
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 4th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byJohn Fleming
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 8th district
In office
February 22, 2015 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byJeff R. Thompson
Succeeded byRaymond Crews
Personal details
Born
James Michael Johnson

(1972-01-30) January 30, 1972 (age 52)
Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse
Kelly Lary
(m. 1999)
Children4
EducationLouisiana State University (BS, JD)
ProfessionLawyer and politician
Signature
WebsiteHouse website
Speaker website

James Michael Johnson (born January 30, 1972) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the 56th speaker of the United States House of Representatives since October 25, 2023. A member of the Republican Party, he is in his fourth House term, having represented Louisiana's 4th congressional district since 2017.

Johnson is a graduate of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University. Before entering politics, he worked as an attorney in private practice and for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF); at ADF, he advocated for sodomy laws and criminalizing homosexuality, writing an amicus brief that opposed the eventual U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas (2003). A young-earth creationist, Johnson sat on the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention between 2004 and 2012.

Johnson's political career began when he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 2015; he served in that body until 2017. He was first elected to represent Louisiana's 4th congressional district in 2016. He has been identified as a member of the Christian right. During his time in Congress, he contested the results of the 2020 presidential election on the House floor and in court. He supported bills that would institute a nationwide ban on abortion. Johnson was chair of the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus of conservatives in Congress, from 2019 to 2021. He was vice chair of the House Republican Conference from 2021 to 2023.

On October 25, 2023, following the ousting of Kevin McCarthy from the speakership, Johnson was elected as the 56th speaker of the House.

Early life and education

Johnson was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, the oldest of four children of Jeanne Johnson and James Patrick "Pat" Johnson (who died in 2016).[1][2] He has said that he is the product of an unplanned pregnancy and that his parents were teenagers when they had him.[3] They later divorced.[4]

In 1984, while serving with the Shreveport Fire Department, Pat Johnson was severely injured and disabled in a fire at a cold storage facility. A fellow firefighter, Captain Percy R. Johnson, was killed in that fire. Pat Johnson never returned to work as a firefighter, choosing instead to become a HazMat consultant. He also co-founded the Percy R. Johnson Burn Foundation, which aided burn victims and their families.[2][5][6]

The younger Johnson wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, but his parents forbade him from becoming a firefighter.[7]

Johnson is a graduate of Captain Shreve High School in Shreveport.[8] In 1995, he earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Louisiana State University, becoming a first-generation college graduate.[8] In 1998, Johnson graduated from Louisiana State's Paul M. Hebert Law Center with a Juris Doctor degree.[9][10]

Legal career

Johnson was a constitutional lawyer before entering politics.[11][12] He was senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, now known as Alliance Defending Freedom, a socially conservative legal advocacy group that subscribes to the legal theory of constitutionalism.[13] While working there, he wrote an amicus brief opposing the eventual U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), while supporting sodomy laws that would criminalize homosexuality.[14][15][16] In 2004, he defended Louisiana Amendment 1, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman within the Louisiana Constitution, against legal challenges.[17]

In August 2010, Johnson was named the "founding dean" of the newly established Pressler School of Law at Louisiana College. The law school never opened, and Johnson resigned in August 2012.[18] Joe Aguillard, the president of Louisiana College, blamed Johnson's resignation for the law school's failure.[19] The parent college has since been embroiled in administrative and legal problems.[20]

Johnson served from 2004 to 2012 on the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.[21]

In 2015, Johnson founded Freedom Guard, a nonprofit legal ministry designed to represent Christian clients in lawsuits.[22] He was its chief counsel.[23] During his time in Freedom Guard, he "defended the sports chaplaincy program at Louisiana State University from attacks that it was unconstitutional".[22] Also, when Kentucky officials withdrew millions of dollars of tax breaks from the Ark Encounter theme park in Williamstown, Kentucky, because Ark Encounter required park employees to affirm that they held Young Earth creationist beliefs, Johnson represented Ark Encounter and its owner, Answers in Genesis, in a 2015 federal lawsuit.[24]

In September 2016, Johnson summarized his legal career as "defending religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and biblical values, including the defense of traditional marriage, and other ideals like these when they've been under assault".[25]

Johnson is a professor at Liberty University and teaches classes at its Helms School of Government.[26][27] From roughly 2015 to 2022, he was a guest host of Tony Perkins's radio talk show Washington Watch.[28]

Louisiana House of Representatives

The 8th District seat of the Louisiana House of Representatives was vacated in 2015 when Jeff R. Thompson was elected to a state district judgeship. Johnson ran to succeed him and was unopposed.[29]

In April 2015, Johnson proposed the Marriage and Conscience Act. It would have prevented the state from engaging in adverse treatment of any person or entity based upon their beliefs about marriage.[30] Critics denounced the bill as an attempt to protect people who discriminate against same-sex married couples.[31][32] Governor Bobby Jindal pledged to sign Johnson's bill into law if it passed the legislature, commenting in a New York Times editorial that "musicians, caterers, photographers and others should be immune from government coercion on deeply held religious convictions".[33][34] IBM and other employers in the region expressed opposition to the bill, including concerns about hiring difficulties it would likely produce.[35] Other politicians also objected, including Republican Baton Rouge Metro Councilman John Delgado, who called Johnson a "despicable bigot of the highest order" for proposing the bill. Johnson replied that he "wished Delgado had taken the time to review his record and career before making 'such hateful, wildly inaccurate statements'".[35]

On May 19, 2015, the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee voted 10–2 to table the bill, effectively ending its chances to become law.[36] Both Republicans and Democrats voted against the bill; other than Johnson, only Republican Ray Garofalo voted for it.[36] In response, Jindal issued an executive order to enforce its intent.[37][38]

In 2016, Johnson was a strong proponent of a movement to drastically amend or replace the United States Constitution at a national convention called for that purpose. He helped lead the Louisiana House in formally petitioning Congress to call a "Convention of States" to overhaul the Constitution. He later held hearings on this proposal in Congress.[39]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

On February 10, 2016, Johnson announced his candidacy for the 4th congressional district seat, which had been held for eight years by John Fleming. Fleming was running for the United States Senate seat vacated by David Vitter. Johnson won the election.[40][41][42][43]

In 2018, Johnson won a second House term, defeating Democratic nominee Ryan Trundle, 139,307 votes (64%) to 72,923 votes (34%).[44]

In 2020, Johnson won a third House term with 185,265 votes (60%) to Democratic nominee Kenny Houston's 78,157 votes (25%).[45]

In 2022, Johnson won reelection unopposed.[46]

Early tenure

Johnson was sworn into office as a member of Congress on January 3, 2017.[47] He has served as a deputy whip for House Republicans,[48] as a member of the Judiciary Committee,[49] and as a member of the Armed Services Committee.[50] From 2019 to 2021, Johnson chaired the Republican Study Committee.[51] Johnson served as vice chair of the House Republican Conference from 2021 to 2023.[52] He was supported by the House Freedom Caucus PAC and frequently attended House Freedom Caucus meetings without formally joining the Caucus.[53][54]

Johnson was among 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.[55]

Johnson has worked closely with the Christian groups Answers in Genesis, Louisiana Family Forum, Alliance Defending Freedom, and Focus on the Family.[56][57]

After the 2022 midterm elections, Representative Andy Biggs proposed Johnson as a possible compromise candidate for Speaker of the House instead of Republican Conference leader Kevin McCarthy, after members of the House Freedom Caucus opposed McCarthy's bid for the speakership.[58]

In 2023, Johnson became chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government.[59]

Committee assignments

The following is a list of Johnson's former committee assignments before becoming Speaker:[60]

Caucus memberships

Speaker of the House

Johnson delivers remarks following his election as Speaker of the House.

Nomination

See also: October 2023 Speaker of the United States House of Representatives election

After Kevin McCarthy was removed from the position of speaker of the House on October 3, 2023, Representative Matt Gaetz floated Johnson's name as a potential replacement.[63] On October 13, Johnson said that he would not run in the upcoming speaker election to succeed McCarthy and endorsed colleague Jim Jordan;[64] on the same day, NBC News reported that Johnson was considering running if Jordan dropped out.[65]

On October 21, after Steve Scalise and Jordan had made unsuccessful bids for speaker,[66][67] Johnson declared his candidacy to become the new Republican nominee for speaker[68] but was beaten by Representative Tom Emmer on October 24. Emmer defeated Johnson, 117 votes to 97, on the fifth ballot.[69] Shortly thereafter, Emmer withdrew his candidacy for the speakership.[70] Later on the same day, House Republicans voted to make Johnson their fourth nominee for speaker; he beat write-in candidate Kevin McCarthy and Representative Byron Donalds, 128 votes to 43 and 29, on the third ballot.[71] Johnson's bid was endorsed by former U.S. President Donald Trump.[72]

On October 25, the full House voted, 220–209,[73] to elect Johnson as the 56th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives[74] with every Republican member in attendance voting for him.[75] Johnson was also sworn in as speaker on the same day.[73] He is the first speaker in U.S. history from Louisiana.[76] Johnson had served the shortest tenure of any House member elected speaker, at six years and ten months, since John G. Carlisle in 1883.[77][78] Delivering his first remarks as speaker, he suggested that his position was ordained by God, saying: "'I believe that Scripture, the Bible, is very clear: that God is the one who raises up those in authority. He raised up each of you. All of us'".[79]

Speaker tenure

Johnson meets with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, October 26, 2023.

On October 26, Johnson met with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia during the latter's state visit to the United States.[80] Later that day, he also met with President Joe Biden for the first time as speaker before attending a bipartisan briefing held at the White House on the administration's proposed funding requests for aid to Ukraine and Israel.[81] On October 30, Johnson suggested rescinding IRS funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to provide Israel $14.3 billion in aid.[82]

In November, Johnson proposed a two-tiered stopgap bill that continued spending at around current levels, but with no aid to Israel or Ukraine.[83] The bill was opposed by House conservatives and the Freedom Caucus,[83][84][85] but passed the House on November 14 with the support of 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans.[83][85] It passed the Senate on the next day[86] and was signed by Biden.[87]

On November 17, Johnson announced that 44,000 hours of security footage from the January 6 United States Capitol attack, all of which had previously only been available upon request from criminal defendants and the media, would be released to the general public. The announcement came after a pledge Johnson made to conservative hardliners during his run for speaker and was welcomed by Donald Trump.[88] As of December 2023, Johnson has released 162 hours of footage, less than 0.4% of the total.[89]

On December 1, the House expelled Republican congressman George Santos by a 311-114 vote;[90] Johnson voted against the expulsion,[91] and called it "a regrettable day".[92]

Political positions

Johnson receiving the True Blue award from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, March 1, 2023.[93]

Johnson is a member of the Christian right faction of the Republican Party.[93][94][95] His inaugural speech as speaker of the House emphasized his Southern Baptist beliefs as the basis for his politics.[79] The Daily Beast reported on Johnson's connections with the Dominion theology movement and its influence on his political activities.[96]

Johnson holds "ultraconservative positions on abortion [...] and same-sex marriages".[97] He is especially known for his extensive and outspoken opposition to legal abortion and gay rights, which began before he held elected office.[98]

2020 presidential election

Main article: Attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election

In early November 2020, after many pollsters and media outlets called the 2020 United States presidential election in favor of Joe Biden over Donald Trump, Johnson said that he spoke to Trump twice, recounting that he urged Trump to "exhaust every available legal remedy to restore Americans' trust in the fairness of our election system" and that he was heartened by Trump's intention to ensure "that all instances of fraud and illegality are investigated and prosecuted".[99]

On November 17, 2020, Johnson said: "You know the allegations about these voting machines, some of them being rigged with this software by Dominion, there's a lot of merit to that. And when the president says the election was rigged, that's what he's talking about. The fix was in. [...] a software system that is used all around the country that is suspect because it came from Hugo Chávez's Venezuela".[99][100][101][102] By October 2022, Johnson said that he had never supported claims that there was massive fraud in the 2020 election.[103]

In December 2020, Johnson led an effort in which 126 Republican U.S. representatives signed an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania,[101][104][105] a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election.[106] The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[107][108][109]

During the January 2021 United States Electoral College vote count, Johnson was one of 120 U.S. representatives who objected to certifying the 2020 presidential election results from both Arizona and Pennsylvania, while another 19 U.S. representatives objected for one of these states.[110] The New York Times called Johnson "the most important architect of the Electoral College objections" because he had argued to reject the results based on the argument of "constitutional infirmity" and persuaded "about three-quarters" of the objectors to use that rationale.[103] Johnson's argument was that certain state officials had violated the Constitution by relaxing restrictions on mail-in voting or early voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic without consulting state legislatures.[103]

On May 19, 2021, Johnson and all other seven Republican House leaders in the 117th Congress voted against establishing a national commission to investigate the January 6, 2021, storming of the United States Capitol. Thirty-five Republican House members and all 217 Democrats present voted to establish the commission.[111][112]

Abortion

Main articles: Abortion in the United States and Anti-abortion movements

In 2015, Johnson blamed abortions and the "breakup [of] the nuclear family" for school shootings, saying, "when you tell a generation of people that life has no value, no meaning, that it's expendable, then you do wind up with school shooters."[113][114] In 2015 and 2016, he led an anti-abortion "Life March" in Shreveport-Bossier City.[115]

Johnson opposed Roe v. Wade.[116] In Congress, he has supported bills outlawing abortion both at fertilization and at 15 weeks' gestation.[117][118] In a 2017 House Judiciary Committee meeting, Johnson argued that Roe v. Wade made it necessary to cut social programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid because abortion reduced the labor force and thus damaged the economy.[116]

Johnson has co-sponsored bills attempting to ban abortion nationwide, such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children From Late-Term Abortions Act, and the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2021. All three bills would impose criminal penalties, including potential prison terms of up to five years, upon doctors who perform abortions.[116]

In January 2023, the House passed a resolution Johnson introduced that condemned "vandalism, violence, and destruction against pro-life facilities, groups, and churches", and added that the House "recognizes the sanctity of life and the important role pro-life facilities, groups, and churches play in supporting pregnant women, infants, and families".[119] At the same time the House passed several bills to assist pregnant women and students.[120]

Climate change and the environment

During a town hall in 2017, Johnson said that he believed that Earth's climate was changing, but questioned the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by humans.[121]

Under Johnson, the Republican Study Committee in 2019 called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal the "Greedy New Steal", called "wind and solar" "the most inefficient energy sources we have", and claimed that living near wind turbines could cause "depression and cognitive dysfunction".[121][122] Basing his views on a belief in the great chain of being, a philosophical and theological concept describing a hierarchical structure of all matter and life, Johnson has also said that any proposed solution to anthropogenic global warming "defies the created order of how this is all supposed to work". According to Johnson, it is our duty to "take dominion of the Earth. You subdue it ... We're supposed to eat those animals."[123]

As of October 2023, Johnson has received $338,125 in donations from the oil and gas industry during his congressional career.[124]

Covenant marriage

Johnson came to some prominence in the late 1990s when he and his wife appeared on television to promote new laws in Louisiana allowing covenant marriages, under which divorce is much more difficult to obtain than in no-fault divorce.[32] In 2005, Johnson appeared on ABC's Good Morning America to promote covenant marriages, saying, "I'm a big proponent of marriage and fidelity and all the things that go with it".[4]

Donald Trump

Johnson with President Donald Trump, March 4, 2019.

In 2015, Johnson wrote on Facebook that "Donald Trump ... lacks the character and the moral center we desperately need again in the White House", adding: "I am afraid he would break more things than he fixes. He is a hot head by nature, and that is a dangerous trait to have in a Commander in Chief. ... I just don't think he has the demeanor to be President."[125]

In 2019, during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Johnson defended Trump, saying that Trump had "cooperated fully" with the investigation and "done nothing wrong".[126]

In 2019, during the first impeachment of Donald Trump, Johnson defended Trump and told White House officials to ignore Congressional subpoenas as "legitimate executive privilege in legal immunity".[127] He served as a member of Trump's legal defense team during both the 2019 and 2021 Senate impeachment trials, each of which resulted in acquittal.[128]

Johnson endorsed Trump's 2024 campaign for president.[129]

Evolution

Johnson rejects the scientific consensus on evolution and holds young-earth creationist beliefs.[130] He helped the Creation Museum secure millions of dollars in tax subsidies to build a life-sized Ark Encounter, which teaches an absurdity: that dinosaurs accompanied Noah on his Ark[131] and that the earth is 6,000 years old.[132] In 2016, Johnson delivered a sermon that called the teaching of evolution one of the causes of mass shootings: "People say, 'How can a young person go into their schoolhouse and open fire on their classmates?' Because we've taught a whole generation—a couple generations now—of Americans: that there's no right or wrong, that it's about survival of the fittest, and you evolve from the primordial slime. Why is that life of any sacred value? Because there's nobody sacred to whom it's owed."[114][133]

Foreign policy

Johnson with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in December 2023

Main article: Foreign policy of the United States

Johnson has supported ending American military aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia.[94] In 2018, it was revealed he had received over $37,000 in campaign contributions from American Ethane, a company with only insignificant assets in the U.S., and controlled almost entirely by three Russian oligarchs.[134] After his election as speaker of the House, he said he was "open to talks" regarding Biden's request for additional funds to help the Ukrainian "counter-offensive against Russia".[3] In December 2023, Johnson said that aid for Ukraine would be predicated on new border-security measures.[135] In January 2024, he opposed a bipartisan, Senate Republican-sponsored border security package that included aid for Ukraine and other U.S. allies.[136][137]

Israel-Palestine relations

Johnson speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition's Annual Leadership Summit, October 28, 2023.

Johnson visited Israel in February 2020 with 12Tribe Films Foundation.[138]

The first measure the House considered after Johnson became speaker was a resolution expressing support for Israel after the 2023 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel. Johnson voted for the resolution.[139][140][141] On November 2, 2023, the House passed a Johnson-supported bill to give Israel $14.3 billion in aid.[142]

Health care

Johnson voted for the American Health Care Act of 2017, which would have repealed the Affordable Care Act (ACA).[143][144]

In 2019, in his capacity as chair of the Republican Study Committee, Johnson spearheaded an effort to replace the ACA. The committee's plan would have rescinded the ACA's Medicaid expansion.[145]

Immigration

Johnson supported Trump's 2017 executive order to prohibit immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, saying: "This is not an effort to ban any religion, but rather an effort to adequately protect our homeland. We live in a dangerous world, and this important measure will help us balance freedom and security."[146]

As of 2023, Johnson had "introduced legislation three times aimed at tightening the asylum system, including by raising the bar on undocumented immigrants to establish their claim of fear of persecution".[147]

In 2023, Johnson voted for an amendment that would eliminate funding for immigration and refugee assistance.[148][better source needed]

In January 2024, Johnson opposed a bipartisan, Senate Republican-backed border security and immigration bill that would also provide funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. During border negotiations, Johnson said that he discussed immigration policy frequently with Trump.[136][137][149]

LGBT rights

Johnson is a longtime, outspoken opponent of LGBT rights and a supporter of criminalizing homosexuality.[15][117][150] In op-eds, he has called homosexuals "sinful", "destructive", and a "deviant group", and has argued that abolishing "discrimination" between "heterosexual and homosexual conduct" would translate into support for pedophilia.[15][98][151] In 2003 and 2004, Johnson wrote multiple opinion articles for Shreveport newspaper The Times opposing homosexuality.[15][152]

In a 2003 article, he wrote:[152][153]

Homosexuals do not meet the criteria for a suspect class under the equal protection clause because they are neither disadvantaged nor identified on the basis of immutable characteristics, as all are capable of changing their abnormal lifestyles.

In another article, Johnson called homosexuality "inherently unnatural" and a "dangerous lifestyle"; he argued that if same-sex marriage was allowed, "then we will have to do it for every deviant group. Polygamists, polyamorists, pedophiles, and others will be next in line to claim equal protection. They already are. There will be no legal basis to deny a bisexual the right to marry a partner of each sex, or a person to marry his pet". Johnson further concluded that allowing same-sex marriage would put the country's "entire democratic system in jeopardy".[15][151] In another article, he wrote that unnamed experts "project that homosexual marriage is the dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic".[15][154]

In 2005, Johnson campaigned against GLSEN's annual anti-bullying Day of Silence, telling NBC News: "that's cloaking their real message—that homosexuality is good for society".[155]

Johnson strongly opposed the U.S. Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas, which ruled that most sanctions of criminal punishment for private sexual conduct between consenting adults are unconstitutional. These sanctions were mostly used to prosecute homosexual activity, although many could also theoretically be applied to heterosexual couples who engage in oral sex and anal sex. As the case was litigated, Johnson wrote a prominent amicus brief in favor of criminalizing consensual same-sex intercourse, arguing that sex between men should be banned because it is more likely to spread sexually transmitted diseases and therefore poses "a distinct public health problem".[156]

Johnson also staunchly opposed Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationally.[157][158] He previously wrote an editorial suggesting that gay people marrying each other could prompt people to start marrying animals.[156] In a televised interview shortly after he was elected speaker, Johnson said, "I am a rule-of-law guy. I made a career defending the rule of law. I respect the rule of law. When the Supreme Court issued the Obergefell opinion, that became the law of the land, OK. I respect the rule of law and also genuinely love all people, regardless of their lifestyle choices".[159][160]

In 2019, when Johnson chaired the Republican Study Committee, the committee published a statement criticizing the removal of clinical psychologist and conversion therapy advocate Joseph Nicolosi's works from availability on Amazon. The committee asserted that Amazon was engaging in censorship by declining to make Nicolosi's works available for sale.[161][162]

In 2022, Johnson introduced the Stop the Sexualization of Children Act, which would prohibit federally funded institutions, including public schools and libraries, from mentioning sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill has been compared to the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, commonly referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" law.[163]

At a July 2023 hearing on transgender youth, Johnson spoke against allowing children and teenagers to receive gender-affirming care, saying: "Our American legal system recognizes the important public interest in protecting children from abuse and physical harm".[164] He has co-sponsored legislation that would make it a felony to provide opposite-sex hormones or gender-affirming surgeries to minors.[165]

On October 25, 2023, the day Johnson was elected speaker of the House, Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson called him "the most anti-equality Speaker in U.S. history".[98] Republican Meghan McCain voiced her disappointment over Johnson's election as speaker, calling him a "raging homophobe".[156]

Marijuana

See also: Medical cannabis in the United States

In 2016, Johnson opposed the expansion of medical marijuana in Louisiana. He argued that medical marijuana can actually worsen some conditions, specifically epilepsy, quoting the American Epilepsy Society's studies that it can cause "severe dystonic reactions and other movement disorders, developmental regression, intractable vomiting, and worsening seizures" in children with epilepsy.[166]

As of 2023, Johnson had twice voted against the decriminalization of marijuana.[147]

Minimum wage

In 2019, Johnson opposed the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, calling it "job-crushing legislation".[167][168] In 2021, Johnson again opposed the bill.[169]

Prayer in public schools

Main article: School prayer § United States

In April 2018, Johnson joined Republican state Attorney General Jeff Landry and Christian evangelist Kirk Cameron to argue under the First Amendment for student-led prayer and religious expression in public schools. Johnson and Landry appeared, with Cameron who spoke on a promotional video, at prayer rallies at the First Baptist Church of Minden and Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City. The gatherings were organized by area pastors, including Brad Jurkovich of First Baptist Bossier, in response to a lawsuit filed in February against the Bossier Parish School Board and the superintendent, Scott Smith. Smith and the board were accused of permitting teachers to incorporate various aspects of Christianity in their class presentations.[170]

Separation of church and state

Johnson has referred to the "so-called separation of church and state". He has asserted that "the founders wanted to protect the church from an encroaching state, not the other way around."[171]

Johnson has cited David Barton, a Christian nationalist whose legal theories are widely dismissed by academics as pseudo-history,[172][173] as profoundly influential in his faith and thinking.[79][174][175][176]

Social Security and Medicare

In 2018, Johnson said that entitlement reform is his "number one priority", adding that reforms to entitlement programs have to "happen yesterday" to maintain their long-term solvency.[177][178][179]

Taxes

In December 2017, Johnson voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.[180] After voting for the Act, he called the economy "stunted" and a "burden" on Americans, adding, "The importance of this moment cannot be overstated. With the first comprehensive tax reform in 31 years, we will dramatically strengthen the U.S. economy and restore economic mobility and opportunity for hardworking individuals and families all across this country."[181] Johnson claimed that reducing corporate taxes "will unleash the free market again" and "could get [GDP growth] as high as 6 or 7 percent".[182]

Personal life

Johnson with his wife, Kelly.

Johnson married Kelly Renee Lary on May 1, 1999.[183] The Johnsons have said their marriage is a covenant marriage.[4] Their primary residence is in Benton, Louisiana.[184] The Johnsons have five children, including an adopted son they took in when he was 14 shortly after they married.[185][186][contradictory] In a 2015 German television story about the purity movement, Johnson and his then 13-year-old daughter Hannah were featured attending a purity ball. Kelly was also interviewed about premarital sex for the story.[187]

Johnson and his wife have co-hosted the podcast Truth Be Told since March 2022, discussing public affairs and other issues from a Christian perspective.[188] On his podcast, Johnson said that "the Word of God is, of course, the ultimate source of all truth", and attributed the success of the United States to its foundation upon a "religious statement of faith".[12]

Johnson describes himself as first and foremost a Christian.[12] An evangelical and Southern Baptist,[94][22] he has said, "My faith informs everything I do."[189]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Following McCarthy's removal as speaker on October 3, 2023, Patrick McHenry acted as speaker pro tempore until Johnson's election as speaker on October 25, 2023.

References

  1. ^ Warburton, Moira (October 25, 2023). "Who is Mike Johnson, the new Republican US House Speaker?". Reuters. Archived from the original on October 25, 2023. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "James Patrick Johnson". The Shreveport Times. December 10, 2016. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016 – via Legacy.com.
  3. ^ a b House, Billy; Wasson, Erik; Natter, Ari; Dennis, Steven T. (October 25, 2023). "Trump Ally Mike Johnson Elected House Speaker, Shifting GOP Further Right". Bloomberg.com. Archived from the original on October 25, 2023. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c "'Covenant Marriage' Offers Tighter Bonds". ABC News. February 10, 2005. Archived from the original on October 3, 2022. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  5. ^ LaRose, Greg (October 25, 2023). "Low-key Mike Johnson, now U.S. House speaker, known at home as affable, conservative stalwart". rhodeislandcurrent.com. Archived from the original on November 2, 2023. Retrieved November 1, 2023.
  6. ^ "Mike Johnson". britannica.com. October 31, 2023. Archived from the original on October 31, 2023. Retrieved November 1, 2023.
  7. ^ Canizales, Anna; Kruse, Michael (October 26, 2023). "55 Things You Need to Know About Mike Johnson". Politico. Archived from the original on October 26, 2023. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  8. ^ a b Hilburn, Greg (October 25, 2023). "Who is Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson, the new speaker of the U.S. House?". ShreveportTimes.com. Archived from the original on October 25, 2023. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  9. ^ Chrisman, Spencer (October 25, 2023). "Two-time LSU alumnus Rep. Mike Johnson elected House speaker". wafb.com. Archived from the original on October 25, 2023. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  10. ^ Habeshian, Sareen (October 25, 2023). "What to know about new House Speaker Mike Johnson". Axios. Archived from the original on October 25, 2023. Retrieved October 25, 2023.
  11. ^ "Meet Mike". mikejohnson.house.gov. United States Congress. Retrieved November 2, 2023.
  12. ^ a b c McHugh, Calder (October 25, 2023). "Johnson is a social conservative's social conservative". Politico. Archived from the original on October 26, 2023. Retrieved October 26, 2023. I am a Christian, a husband, a father, a life-long conservative, constitutional law attorney and a small business owner in that order.
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