Republicans give Louisiana's Mike Johnson a try as House chaos hits new low

Washington DC - Republicans on Tuesday made their fourth pick in just two weeks to replace the ousted speaker of the US House of Representatives, underlining the chaos engulfing the party.

Louisiana Representative Mike Johnson has been put forward as the Republican Party's fourth nominee for House speaker in two weeks.
Louisiana Representative Mike Johnson has been put forward as the Republican Party's fourth nominee for House speaker in two weeks.  © REUTERS

Louisiana's Mike Johnson won an internal party vote just hours after previous nominee, Majority Whip Tom Emmer, buckled under a backlash led by former President Donald Trump and announced his withdrawal.

Congress has been at a standstill and unable to address multiple global crises, as well as the fast-approaching threat of a government shutdown, since Kevin McCarthy's historic dismissal in a far-right rebellion on October 3.

"The dysfunction in the Republican Party right now seems to be saying we want to lose," exasperated Kentucky Republican Andy Barr told CNN.

Donald Trump calls political opponents "human scum" on the somber holiday of Memorial Day
Donald Trump Donald Trump calls political opponents "human scum" on the somber holiday of Memorial Day

"That is crazy to me. We were elected as a majority to govern, and we are not doing that right now."

Adding to the sense of growing desperation in Republican ranks, McCarthy himself at one point was pitching what looked like a far-fetched plan ahead of the latest contest that would see him reinstalled as speaker with Jordan as his assistant.

Who is Mike Johnson and what are his chances of becoming House speaker?

Johnson was one of the loudest voices among Republicans who sought to overturn President Joe Biden's 2020 election win.
Johnson was one of the loudest voices among Republicans who sought to overturn President Joe Biden's 2020 election win.  © REUTERS

Johnson is the vice chairman of the conference, but a relative novice in politics, only moving up to the House from state-level politics in 2017. He lost out to Emmer earlier in the day but quickly threw his hat back in the ring after his leadership colleague bowed out.

The 51-year-old is best known as a driving force among more than 100 Republicans who signed on to a legal brief supporting a lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election results in four swing states won by Biden.

But all the indications are that Johnson will likely fall victim to the same internal divisions that have left the party incapable of uniting around any leader.

Jill Stein makes major announcement on Green Party nomination for president
Politicians Jill Stein makes major announcement on Green Party nomination for president

Tuesday's disarray marked two weeks since the party's first nominee to replace McCarthy, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, withdrew as it became clear he was nowhere near the 217 votes needed to be elected.

Hard-line Trump ally Jim Jordan, the next nominee, flopped three times on the House floor as successively larger tallies of Republican opponents joined the Democrats to reject him.

Cover photo: REUTERS

More on US politics: