A GOP congressman says Speaker Mike Johnson has brought a 'sense of peace' to the House Republican Conference: 'He's shown you can be conservative and kind'

  • Speaker Mike Johnson is being lauded by House Republicans for uniting the conference after weeks of turmoil.

  • "There's a real sense of peace that came over the whole conference," Rep. Warren Davidson told NBC News.

  • Republicans will face a series of tests as they continue to navigate a slim 221-212 House majority.

After Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California was removed as House speaker in October, the three-week ordeal to select a new leader upended the legislative process at the Capitol, with Republicans engaged in ideological and personal skirmishes that sent tempers flaring.

But after a range of candidates bowed out of the race due to insufficient support, the GOP conference coalesced around Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, who despite his low profile in the lower chamber received unanimous support from his party — and thus secured the speakership that eluded top party figures like House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota.

And the process by which Johnson was selected has worked out fine for many House Republicans, who are thrilled that they have a speaker who was able to do the unthinkable: seemingly unite (at least for now) the warring factions within the party.

"There's a real sense of peace that came over the whole conference," Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio told NBC News. "I think he's shown you can be conservative and kind. … Call it 'Johnsonian' — he's a little different than Lyndon."

Johnson, a conservative with deep ties to the Christian right, is known for having a mild-mannered demeanor on Capitol Hill, a far cry from the more hard-nosed tactics that the late President Lyndon B. Johnson was known for as a Texas senator and later in the White House.

But for conservatives focused on shifting back to the party's legislative priorities, Mike Johnson has given them confidence that they can they work together as a party notwithstanding the discontent that made eight Republicans vote to oust McCarthy.

Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama, the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, had high praise for Johnson.

"He's very level-headed, not one to get emotional," he told NBC News. "He's a great communicator and he's focused."

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