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New House Speaker Highlights Division in the Republican Party

Simon Arenson ’26

Mike Johnson (R-LA 4th District) has assumed the role of Speaker of the House, following Kevin McCarthy’s unprecedented removal. This major change not only dramatically impacts the Republican Party, but it will also severely affect Congress and our country as a whole.

On Oct. 3, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 20th District) was ousted as Speaker of the House. The road to his removal was paved by Matt Gaetz (R-FL 1st District), a prominent figure on the far-right who questioned how McCarthy negotiated with the Democratic Party. Gaetz made a bold move to push for a vote to remove McCarthy as Speaker. His plan was executed after McCarthy struck a deal with House Democrats to prevent a government shutdown, marking a departure from party norms. Representative McCarthy was then ousted from his position in a vote of 216-210. In the 234 year history of the House of Representatives, this marks the first time a Speaker of the House has been voted out of office.

Following McCarthy’s removal, Congress faced three weeks of gridlock. The absence of a Speaker resulted in a legislative environment where almost no progress could be made. Amid this uncertainty, global and domestic pressures–including the Israel-Hamas war and the debt ceiling–intensified, placing great pressure on Congress. This three-week period of little progress highlighted the critical role of stable leadership in addressing pressing matters.

In this political turmoil, the spotlight turned to representative Mike Johnson, who has advocated criminalizing homosexuality and has denied the results of the 2020 election. On Oct. 25, Johnson was voted in as Speaker of the House in a vote of 220-209, defeating Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY 8th District). 

Johnson’s tenure comes at a crucial point addressing internal party divisions rooted in questions of allegiance to former President Donald Trump. Many Republicans, like Gaetz and Johnson, continue to support Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement, while others choose to leave it in the past.

In the aftermath of McCarthy’s historic removal, Mike Johnson’s new role as House Speaker adds a new chapter to the Republican Party’s narrative, leaving the nation in a place of uncertainty as it awaits his impact on Congress and the broader political landscape. 


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