The House Republican caucus voted to make Rep. Tom Emmer its choice for Speaker Tuesday afternoon, but Emmer faced ferocious opposition from the party’s far-right flank and from former President Donald Trump, leading Emmer to pull out of the race just hours after rising to the top of the candidate pool. The caucus then turned to Rep. Mike Johnson, a hard-right Trump supporter who led congressional efforts to overturn the 2020 election, backs a national abortion ban, and opposes LGBTQ equality.
Johnson is a former lawyer and spokesperson for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious-right legal powerhouse that, despite its name, advocates for restricting Americans’ freedom and equality in alignment with its religious-right worldview.
Johnson has defended legislation banning abortion without exceptions for victims of rape and incest and is a promoter of the extreme anti-choice “personhood” movement, which seeks to have fertilized eggs treated as full persons under the law and U.S. Constitution from the moment of conception, which would require a national ban on abortions and some forms of birth control.
Last year, Johnson introduced a national version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would impose sweeping anti-LGBTQ censorship on public libraries, schools, military bases, and hospitals.
Earlier this year, Johnson participated in a religious-right rally at the Museum of the Bible featuring Christian nationalist and dominionist speakers.
Christian nationalist pastor and political activist Rick Scarborough calls Johnson a friend and in 2019 celebrated that “God just elevated him to be head of the Republican Study Committee.” Johnson had announced and promoted his 2018 bid for that post on Family Research Council President Tony Perkin’s “Washington Watch” radio show, saying the RSC’s mission was to steer the GOP to the right.