House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) assumed his position amidst turmoil, taking over from Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) following a tumultuous revolt within the party. However, according to Politico, discontent is already brewing among some far-right members who initially supported Johnson, a staunch election denier and self-proclaimed Christian nationalist.
Critics expressed feelings of betrayal, asserting that Johnson had failed to deliver substantial policy differences from the McCarthy era. In a speech to Senate Republicans, Johnson pledged to secure funding to avoid a shutdown until the end of the fiscal year, a move perceived by some as relinquishing a potential bargaining chip for right-wing policies.
Despite voicing interest in passing Ukraine aid, a proposal met with increasing opposition from certain factions within the right-wing Freedom Caucus, Johnson suggested tying it to a border bill. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) criticized Johnson, stating that his performance is “plummeting,” while Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) deemed his leadership “unsatisfactory” and in need of improvement.
While not universally shared among the GOP‘s right flank, some believe that the murmured threats to depose Johnson, akin to McCarthy’s removal, are gaining traction. These concerns extend beyond the confines of the Freedom Caucus.
Representative Max Miller (R-OH), a close ally of McCarthy, expressed dismay, highlighting Johnson’s recent shifts in position on issues such as continuing resolutions and Ukraine funding. Miller accused Johnson of lacking moral conviction in his beliefs, describing the Speaker’s controversial move to link Israel aid with defunding IRS enforcement against wealthy tax cheats as a “slap in the face to every Jew.”
Amidst these challenges, Johnson faces additional controversies, including allegations from former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) in a new tell-all book. Cheney contends that Johnson lied to fellow Republicans about his role in a Texas lawsuit attempting to overturn the 2020 election results. The discontent within the party suggests a rocky start for Johnson’s leadership.