House Speaker Mike Johnson on Tuesday endorsed Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, while defending the former president’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.
“I’m all in for President Trump,” Johnson said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I expect he’ll be our nominee, and we have to make Biden a one-term president.”
Johnson suggested he had already thrown his weight behind Trump, saying, “I have endorsed him wholeheartedly.” But it was unclear when the Louisiana Republican had previously given Trump his official backing.
Trump had not officially endorsed Johnson when he became the Republican Party’s fourth nominee for speaker last month, amid a drawn-out scramble to replace ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
But Trump gave what he called a “strong suggestion” to “go with the leading candidate, Mike Johnson, & get it done, fast!”
Trump has dominated the 2024 Republican presidential field, but it is unusual for a party’s leader in Congress to publicly endorse a candidate this early in the race, before the first primary vote has been cast.
Johnson endorsed Trump in 2020, and he backed Trump’s efforts to overturn his Electoral College loss to Biden. Johnson led a Supreme Court brief signed by more than 100 other House Republicans in support of a Texas lawsuit that aimed to discount the election results in key states that Trump lost.
Johnson on Tuesday called himself one of the “closest allies President Trump has in Congress.”
Asked about Trump’s efforts to challenge his loss in 2020 — including recent reporting in which his former allies said Trump planned to refuse to leave his office — Johnson was unwavering.
“It can’t be about personalities, it’s got to be about policies and principles,” Johnson said, arguing that Trump’s were superior to Biden’s.
Asked again about Trump’s frequent, false claims that the election was stolen through widespread fraud, Johnson said, “I take him at his word, I do believe that he believes that.”
Pressed on Trump’s well-documented airing of lies and misleading statements, Johnson said, “There are a lot of people in Washington who say things that are not accurate all the time.”
But he maintained that Trump’s views about the 2020 election results are “deep in his heart.”
“He just felt like he was cheated in that election,” Johnson said, “and I think that’s a core conviction of his.”
Johnson added that Trump “does believe in the rule of law. I mean, look at what he did on the Supreme Court, for example.”
The speaker also brushed off questions about Trump’s four pending criminal cases, dismissing them all as politically motivated “lawfare.”