A little-known Republican lawmaker from Louisiana was elevated to be the next U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives on Wednesday with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s support.
Fitzpatrick joined fellow Republicans to vote Congressman Mike Johnson into the speaker position, which has been open for 22 days.
Speaking to the Bucks County Herald, Fitzpatrick, a four-term congressman of the First Congressional District, emphasized the importance of returning functionality to the House.
“He’s a spiritual man, a humble man and he happens to be, unlike myself, very conservative,” Fitzpatrick told the newspaper. “I don’t agree with him on policy issues. We disagree on the election. I believe Joe Biden is our legitimately elected president. I don’t believe in extreme abortion laws.”
Fitzpatrick had previously called for the Republicans to elect a new speaker after several failed attempts.
In his remarks to Congress post-election to the speakership, Johnson identified as a Christian and affirmed his conservative values.
“I believe that each one of us has a huge responsibility today, to use the gifts that God has given us to serve the extraordinary people of this great country, and they deserve it,” he said.
Johnson received an endorsement for the speaker role from ex-President Donald Trump on Wednesday. Fitzpatrick, who didn’t back Trump in 2016, secured his endorsement in 2020.
Johnson has faced Democratic criticism for past remarks, which include suggesting that gay marriage posed a threat to the nation, opposing the overturn of state laws criminalizing homosexual activity, and efforts to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.
Democrat Ashley Ehasz, a congressional candidate in the district, criticized Fitzpatrick’s vote.
“The House is in chaos and our freedom and national security are under attack. This dysfunction will not stop until we vote out politicians like Fitzpatrick and win back the House. My responsibility when I am in Congress will be the same as when I commanded troops in the Army,” she said.
The speaker position became available on October 3 after eight Republicans sided with all 212 House Democrats to remove California Congressman Kevin McCarthy from the role.