After three long weeks, the GOP finally picked Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson to replace Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker. He’s a close ally of Donald Trump and is a favorite among conservative lawmakers. He received the party’s nomination thanks to the support of the GOP conference’s most right-wing members. On paper, he looks better than McCarthy and almost as good as the man whom Republicans chose three times but were unable to confirm, Jim Jordan of Ohio. But he must prove himself in hard battles ahead to show that he is the right man for the job. The upcoming budget fight offers the opportunity for Johnson to go to war against Joe Biden’s Great Replacement illegal-alien invasion. It will be the critical test to show that the GOP is on a better path.
Elected in 2016, Johnson previously headed the conservative Republican Study Committee and was vice chairman of the Republican Conference. He gained attention for leading the fight to challenge the 2020’s presidential election results and was one of the foremost lawmakers opposed to certifying the election. He regularly talks to Trump and is considered a member of the former president’s inner circle.
Leftists claim to be appalled about Johnson’s elevation due to his strong social conservative views. Even worse, they say, he’s an “election denier” [How Mike Johnson’s denial of Trump’s 2020 loss helped pave his path to power, by April Rubin, Axios, October 26, 2023]. Johnson has also criticized blank checks for the Ukraine war, further enraging the D.C. Establishment, most notably pro-Biden neocons such as GOP turncoat Bill Kristol.
FYI. Mike Johnson: Ukraine report card.https://t.co/SZWCqwMyTf— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 25, 2023
The Louisiana congressman is reportedly also open to impeaching Joe Biden, albeit over bribery rather than the border [Speaker Johnson raises conservatives’ hopes for Biden impeachment, by Jordain Carney and Olivia Beavers, Politico, October 26, 2023].
Most important, Johnson is solid on immigration and rates a career A from NumbersUSA. (It’s not A+ because he voted for a bill to help some Afghan refugees in 2021, and he has yet to sponsor a bill ending Birthright Citizenship.)
Johnson has led congressional delegations to see Biden’s border invasion firsthand. He has repeatedly introduced a bill to tighten asylum rules to discourage illegal immigration. His record has earned high praise from immigration control groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies. “Johnson is not only strong on border security, but he has also twice introduced legislation to help prevent fraud and abuse in the asylum system,” CIS’s Andrew Arthur wrote [Mike Johnson (La.) Nominated for House Speaker, October 25, 2023]. Arthur also appeared at a CIS panel discussion, saying, “If the new speaker is Mike Johnson, the man in the chair will also be one of the leading experts on that topic” [Border hawks like Mike Johnson, by Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, October 25, 2023].
Johnson demanded that Congress fix the “broken border” in his first address as House Speaker, eliciting enthusiastic applause from Republicans.
Speaker Mike Johnson says that we need to fix the southern border and stop the wave of fentanyl.— Greg Price (@greg_price11) October 25, 2023
Republicans stand up and clap while most of the Democrats stay seated. pic.twitter.com/7XVezrnH28
Now the downsides. Johnson seems to be weird about race. He and his wife adopted a black son, like Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a phenomenon that, although sometimes occurring among devout Christians, does suggest an unusual psychology. And he claims this experience influences him. In a 2020 PBS interview shortly after the Floyd Hoax riots, Johnson endorsed the Left’s false narrative on “systemic racism” and White Privilege. He said he was “outraged” by Floyd’s death and declared it to be a murder, despite the real cause of death, a fentanyl overdose, being widely known. He said he was glad the country was reacting to it. He then explained how his adopted black son makes him see race in a liberal light.
You know, what it’s taught me is we now have four other children of our own. And my oldest son, Jack, ironically, this year is 14. And I’ve thought often through all these ordeals over the last couple of weeks about the difference in the experiences between my two 14-year-old sons, Michael being a black American and Jack being white Caucasian. They have different challenges. My son Jack has an easier path. He just does. The interesting thing about both of these kids, Michael and Jack, is they’re both handsome, articulate, really talented kids, gifted by God to do lots of things. But the reality is, and no one can tell me otherwise, my son Michael had a harder time than my son Jack is going to have simply because of the color of his skin. And that’s a reality. It’s an uncomfortable, painful one to acknowledge, but people have to recognize that’s a fact.
[Speaker Mike Johnson Condemned by Far-Right for Comments on His Black Son and George Floyd, by Isaac Schorr, Mediaite, October 26, 2023]
Asked what should be done, the congressman added this Leftist trope: “I think that we need, we really do need systematic change. I think we need transformative solutions.” That obviously alarmed conservatives. Mediaite quotes big names such as Matt Walsh and Laura Loomer lambasting Johnson for such cuck talk.
Johnson can still accomplish things as House Speaker, even with these squishy racial views. But his changing views on Ukraine must also concern immigration patriots.
He recently told reporters that he now supports additional aid to Ukraine and that he’s working on getting that done. Congressional Republicans say his views on that war are “evolving” to be more in sync with the Swamp consensus [Speaker Johnson’s Ukraine views have been ‘evolving,’ by Matt Berg, Politico, October 26, 2023]. Speaking with Sean Hannity, Johnson sounded exactly like the neocon establishment. He said we can’t let Russia win in Ukraine and America must get more aggressive overseas.
Mike Johnson, the new GOP Speaker of the House, tells Sean Hannity:— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) October 27, 2023
- "We can't allow Putin to prevail in Ukraine"
- US "boots on the ground" may be required to "stand with Israel"
- Supports Israel directly attacking Iran
- Russia, China, and Iran are "the new Axis of Evil" pic.twitter.com/1dQAZqpMKn
The problem with this: Regardless of what immigration patriots think about the Ukraine issue, they must be concerned that Johnson’s “evolving” suggests he might cave to the Establishment on other issues. GOP wimps also don’t want to impeach Biden or go too far on border security. Could Johnson capitulate on those issues too?
Johnson’s main challenge: to unite the extremely divided GOP caucus over the upcoming budget bill. Republicans have until November 17 to come up with a budget of their own to avoid a government shutdown. That’s a tall task.
GOP ”moderates” and conservatives now absolutely hate each other after the long battle to pick a new House Speaker. Hurt feelings will linger and encourage lawmakers to oppose measures just to spite their enemies. We already saw this in the failed attempts to elect Jordan. GOP wimps opposed him to punish the lawmakers who overthrew McCarthy. They could sabotage stronger border control measures in the budget measure to undermine conservatives [Why Republican Jim Jordan’s House speaker bid is being blocked by “moderates” in his party, by Tal Axelrod, ABC News, October 18, 2023].
Johnson was elected speaker simply because he was a conservative without many enemies. But being a leader will require him to upset people. Whom he upsets and pleases will determine whether he was worth the past month’s chaos. If he sticks to a patriot agenda that secures the border, he will prove himself a significant improvement over McCarthy.
Good news is, trying to stop Biden’s border invasion has broad support within the GOP conference. Even “moderates” want action. Thus McCarthy tried to coax hardline conservatives into voting for his budget proposal last month by offering funding for a wall, immigration law enforcement, and reinstituting Remain in Mexico. It did not mandate e-Verify or other sensible patriotic immigration reforms, but it was better than nothing. Hardliners didn’t accept it, but it showed that “moderates” will support border security.
It’s clear that grassroots Republicans think immigration is one of the most important issues facing the country. Republican voters in the battleground state of New Hampshire say immigration is their top concern [Trump’s lead holds in poll and Haley overtakes DeSantis for second place among N.H. voters, by Matt Stout and Emma Platoff, Boston Globe, October 4, 2023].
Johnson has a few options on the border. He can settle with the McCarthy proposal that pleased “moderates” but failed to attract conservatives. That’s the bare minimum.
The better option is to add mandatory e-Verify and greater restrictions on asylum seekers. If he’s really ambitious, Johnson could adopt Texas Rep. Chip Roy’s border bill. That bill would block dubious asylum seekers from the country by empowering DHS to turn away illegals who claim asylum but cannot be detained. It also allows for the immediate deportation of illegals if the government does not have “operational control” of the border, as required by the Secure Fence Act. Supporting Roy’s measure would send a strong message: Johnson is serious about combating the invasion.
My view: Immigration patriots should be cautiously optimistic about Johnson. He has a good record on our issue, His cucking on race and reversal on Ukraine must give pause, but he has still the potential to be a transformative speaker who delivers real results. It just requires him to have a spine.
The upcoming budget battle will tell us a lot.
Washington Watcher II [Email him] is an anonymous DC insider.