After weeks of political chaos, House Republicans unanimously elected Rep. Mike Johnson (R-CA) as Speaker of the House on Wednesday. The deeply conservative but lesser-known, member of the House GOP leadership team swept through on the first ballot with support from all Republican members.
He was quickly sworn into office, effectively making him second in line to the presidency and drawing unequivocal condemnation from the three Democratic representatives vying to fill the Senate seat of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Bay Area Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued a statement slamming Johnson as an “election denier” and a “MAGA extremist.”
“After over three weeks of infighting, the GOP showed their true colors today by surrendering to the extreme factions of their party and elevating an election denier to one of the most powerful positions in government,” Lee said in a statement.
“I will work with anyone to get critical protections for working people passed,” the statement continued. “But I can’t celebrate the appointment of someone who was a key architect of the January 6th strategy to overturn the 2020 election and undermine our democracy — or someone who rejects climate change, commonsense gun reform, and abortion rights.”
Orange County Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) sounded a similar note in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
“Insurrectionist Mike Johnson is now second in line to the presidency. The American people deserve better,” she wrote.
Porters went on to accuse the new speaker of being anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-social security, anti-Medicare and anti-democracy.
In his own post on X, Burbank Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) echoed Porter, calling the new Speaker “anti-reproductive freedom,” and saying he “wants to end Medicare and Social Security as we know it.” Johnson, Schiff said, also “helped lead the effort to overturn the 2020 election.”
Johnson, a lawyer specializing in constitutional issues, had previously rallied Republicans around Trump’s legal effort to overturn the 2020 election. Johnson won the Speaker’s gavel 220-209 in Wednesday’s vote as Republican members coalesced around him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.