The U.S. House of Representatives elected Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), who has a reputation for being a strong supporter of Israel, as the new speaker on Wednesday.
“Our nation’s greatest ally in the Middle East is under attack. The first bill that I’m going to bring to this floor in just a little while will be in support of our dear friend Israel,” Johnson said. “We’re overdue in getting that done.”
“We’re going to show not only Israel but the entire world that the barbarism of Hamas that we have all seen play out on our television screens is wretched and wrong, and we are going to stand for the good in that conflict,” he added.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman called Johnson’s opening remarks as speaker “some of the most moving words I have heard from that podium.” Friedman recalled dining with Johnson in Jerusalem at the U.S. Embassy. “Your commitment to Israel and its security was apparent to us from the moment we met,” he wrote.
“He’s a good man and a friend,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote of Johnson. “I look forward to working with him on passing conservative legislation, holding the Biden administration accountable and delivering for the American people.”
Sandra Parker, chairwoman of the Christians United for Israel Action Fund, called Johnson “a longtime supporter of Israel.”
“We are extremely pleased the House will now be able to function properly. Now that the House is finally in order, there are several highly pressing items Congress must advance,” she said.
Norm Coleman, national chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said that under Johnson’s speakership, the House “can put forward the necessary legislation to get our government and our country back on the right track.”
“We stand in a difficult moment: Our ally Israel is at war with brutal terrorists, Iran is menacing the Middle East, and China and Russia are watching for an opening to achieve their aspirations against American interests,” he added. “Working Americans are struggling with higher prices for food, fuel and housing, while millions of illegal aliens are flooding across our southern border.”
U.S. President Joe Biden, who called Johnson to congratulate him this afternoon, stated: “As I said when this process began, whoever the speaker is, I will seek to work with them in good faith on behalf of the American people.”
Ammar Moussa, a spokesman for Biden’s presidential campaign, called Johnson’s election an “extreme” takeover.
“Now, Donald Trump has his loyal foot soldier to ban abortion nationwide, lead efforts to deny free and fair election results, gut Social Security and Medicare, and advance the extreme MAGA agenda at the expense of middle-class families,” he stated. (MAGA refers to “Make America Great Again.”)
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) called Johnson “anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, anti-gun safety, anti-democracy,” adding “this is what theocracy looks like.”