Republicans elect hardliner Johnson as speaker

Mike Johnson has been elected the new speaker of the US House of Representatives. After several failed attempts by other candidates, the Trump supporter managed to secure the required majority on Wednesday. A new US budget can now be passed in mid-November. His election has far-reaching consequences for Europe too, commentators observe.

Open/close all quotes
Diena (LV) /

Ukraine no longer a priority

Diena worries about support for Ukraine in the wake of Johnson's election:

“Immediately after his election, the politician gave a speech in which he outlined his priorities as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Johnson announced that his first initiative would be to support Israel. Other priorities he mentioned were the security of US borders and the fight against the spread of drugs and crime in the US. Ukraine was not mentioned at all, suggesting that fears of a significant decline in US support for Kyiv may be realised.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

The EU must pick up the slack for the US

Europe needs to shift up a gear in terms of arms production, Dagens Nyheter admonishes:

“The US is a superpower with a large arsenal. In Europe, there is a lack of supplies and production capacities for ammunition and other materials are limited. One could perhaps point to that as an excuse initially. But the EU's GDP is the third highest in the world and almost nine times higher than Russia's. Europe has the economic and industrial means to lead Kyiv to victory - all that is missing is the will to shift gears. This needs to happen because it is our continent that Putin wants to rule. ... Europe has had plenty of time to boost production - now time is running out.”

The Times (GB) /

Little time to acclimatise

The challenge of bringing together the deeply divided camps in the shark pool of US politics is enormous, The Times stresses:

“Mr Johnson will have to learn fast how to swim in such dangerous waters. He must also understand the full responsibilities of Congress. Partisan squabbling helps no one except Mr Trump, and could wreck legislation essential to keep the economy on track and America's global role intact. Young, inexperienced and catapulted into a job he did not envisage, Mr Johnson has little time to acclimatise to a position that can help to determine the direction of America's economy and the strength of its influence abroad.”

Stuttgarter Zeitung (DE) /

The moment of truth is coming

The first acid test is just around the corner, notes the Stuttgarter Zeitung:

“A 106-billion-dollar aid package with funds for Israel, Ukraine, humanitarian tasks and border security is already waiting for Johnson. He'll have to take a stance and show whether he's on the side of threatened democracies. The moment of truth will come on 17 November, when the budget threatens to run out. Then the new speaker will have to show whether he can square the circle. If not, he'll suffer the same fate as Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted by a hard right core for his willingness to pass an interim budget with Democratic votes due to a lack of support within his own ranks.”

The Independent (GB) /

Don't expect compromises

Even if Johnson has promised to seek a "joint basis" with the Democrats we shouldn't be deceived, warns The Independent:

“Johnson is Trump's new man in Washington. If that wasn't frightening enough, take a look at his voting record. Johnson voted to overturn the 2020 election, supports a nationwide abortion ban, opposes equal marriage and last year introduced a federal version of Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill. He has attacked transgender healthcare access, is a climate change denier, and opposes aid to Ukraine. ... This is a man for whom equality applies only to those who look and think like him, a man whose record proves he believes himself to be a better judge of how you and I live than we ourselves are.”