Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) said Tuesday night that it was worth ousting former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the top job earlier this month to elevate Rep. Mike Johnson. (R-La.).
“It was worth it,” Gaetz told reporters after Johnson’s conference. won the Republican conference vote on Tuesday.
“To everyone who said I didn’t have a plan: This guy has been sitting next to me for seven years on the House Judiciary Committee,” he added. “I hope my mentorship rubbed off on me.”
He called Johnson a “transformational leader” who is “widely respected in the caucus.”
“We adore him and I think he will do a great job for the country and for the right reasons,” Gaetz continued. “Mike Johnson cannot be bought or paid for. “Mike Johnson does the right thing.”
Burchett echoed Gaetz’s sentiment, telling reports after Tuesday night’s internal vote that it was “absolutely worth it.” He said he previously thought Johnson might be the “dark horse” in the race for GOP chairman, adding that he considers him a “very decent person.”
“I said, if we get someone like Mike Johnson, we could win, the country would win,” he said.
Gaetz and Burchett were two of the eight republicans who voted with Democrats to take the gavel away from McCarthy more than three weeks ago. Since then, the House GOP has struggled to unite behind a candidate.
However, House Republicans are expressing optimism that Johnson could be the candidate who gets the 217 votes needed to win.
Johnson was the second GOP nominee in a day after House Majority Leader Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) abandoned of the race amid Republican opposition. Emmer was the third candidate of the Republican Party, after the conference. abandoned Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) last week after he failed on three votes in the House of Representatives.
Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) was the first candidate they voted to introduce, but abandoned of the race after a day in which it became clear he couldn’t get enough votes.
Mychael Schnell contributed.
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