Rep. Mike Johnson’s rise to speaker: Letters to the Editor — Oct. 27, 2023


The Issue: The House’s election of Rep. Mike Johnson as speaker after the seat was vacant for three weeks.

The expression “the cream always rises to the top” — sometimes used to describe circum­stances where the most-accomplished people emerge from the crowd — is not absolute (“House GOP Likes Mike,” Oct. 26).

There was an embarrassing display of dysfunction by the Republican majority in the House, starting with former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ouster. The fractious GOP rejected a number of speaker candidates whose ideologies were out of alignment with certain factions within the conference.

After quashing bids by three prominent House members, Republicans finally settled on a known ally of former President Donald Trump and an active participant in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, Rep. Mike Johnson.

Handing the speaker’s gavel to a known election-denier who opposes providing support to an ally, Ukraine, should send a message to the electorate that, in the Republican Party, cream is not the only substance that can rise to the top.

Jim Paladino

Tampa, Fla.

Almost simultaneously with the election of Johnson as speaker of the House, several of Trump’s associates were pleading guilty to various criminal violations for the conspiracy to decertify the 2020 election.

The significance of this is that Johnson has been an ardent election-denier and Trump supporter.

If he is unable to declare the legitimacy of the Biden presidency, then he cannot expect bi-partisanship with the Democrats.

If Johnson truly desires a successful speakership and legacy, he should immediately prepare a speech that acknowledges that he — and so many colleagues — relied upon the opinions of lawyers and officials who blatantly lied to them and debased the electoral system.

He may provoke a backlash from the ultra-MAGA representatives, but he will be applauded by moderate Republicans everywhere and his House Democratic colleagues.

Betty Ussach

Dartmouth, Mass.

Johnson will be a great speaker. He’s a good fiscal conservative.

You know he is good because House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies very predictably called him “an extreme right-wing ideologue.” (This from a radical liberal extremist.)

Go get ’em, Mike. You have a lot of patriotic support behind you.

J.R. Cummings


Johnson is a prominent election-denier and liar who actively attempted to overturn the legitimate result of the 2020 presidential election.

He opposes marriage equality, women’s reproductive rights and providing aid to Ukraine: He’s wrong and out-of-step on all of these issues.

He is a perfect leader for his home state of Louisiana, but he is not reflective of much of the rest of the United States.

An ultra-right wing speaker is wholly inappropriate in a House that is divided. There is no mandate for a radical Republican like Johnson to lead this body.

I will try to look at the bright side: By betraying tens of millions of Americans with this choice for speaker, the Republicans may enable Democrats to score significant gains in future elections.

Oren Spiegler

Peters Township, Pa.

Johnson is anti-American. He participated in the attempt overturn the 2020 election.

The Republican Party will lose the House in 2024, and its authoritarian leader, Trump, will be jailed for trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Aaron Kiely

Boston, Mass.

Congratulations to all House Republicans and best wishes and every success to Speaker-elect Johnson.

I’m proud of and thankful for all the Republican candidates who ran for speaker, for McCarthy, who stepped aside, and for the democratic selection process that elected Johnson.

Thank you to Rep. Matt Gaetz for leading the challenge for change to end Democrats’ reckless spending and failed policies resulting high inflation and national debt of $33 trillion, a number far too big to increase.

Carl A Merz

West Hartford, Conn.

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