GOP congressman skewers “5th choice” speaker Mike Johnson as an embarrassment to the party

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Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson Photo: Shutterstock

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) blasted his party’s own House leader, anti-LGBTQ+ Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), for being no one’s first choice for the leadership position.

“We went through five choices and Mike Johnson’s the fifth choice,” McHenry told CBS News. “He has not been around these leadership decisions. He’s had a really tough process.”

And amidst a looming government shutdown and heated discussions about providing military aid to Israel and Ukraine, McHenry implied that Johnson is drowning.

“We’ve thrown him into the deepest end of the pool with the heaviest weights around him and trying to teach him how to learn to swim,” he said. “It’s been a rough couple of months.”

He blasted Johnson for making decisions out of fear of being ousted like his predecessor, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

“[If] it’s fear of the deal that drives him, [that] will then result in a government shutdown,” McHenry said. “What I believe is, we will get higher spending and less policy as a result of the government shutdown.”

He acknowledged Johnson’s worries as “real and legitimate” but said they shouldn’t stop him from doing his job.

“You can either die as speaker and worry about them taking you out, or live every day as your last. Get something out of it. If you lead and get big things done, your reputation enhances. Your ability to get the next deal done is enhanced. The view from the public, while not perfect, is better if you take action than if you sit and dither.”

He blamed Johnson for holding up the national security bill that the Senate has already approved, explaining that most members of the House from both parties support it.

“They support 80 to 90% of what’s in the bill,” McHenry said. “About two-thirds of the House is of that opinion. It will get done. It will just be a question of how it gets done and how long it will take to get done.”

“What is axiomatic about the House is that any speaker can stand in the way of the majority will on the House floor for a period of time — but not permanently,” he continued.  “My hope is that the speaker will come around to seeing this in a very sensible way.”

And the insults kept coming.

“[McCarthy] was highly successful in the 10 months of his speakership,” McHenry said. “We didn’t have a single failed rule. Since then we’ve had five rules fail, which is a terrible mark for a majority.”

“If you’re in charge, you dictate the terms of debate. If you don’t pass that rule, you have, in essence, handed the House floor over to the minority party to do what they will. We did it zero times under Kevin McCarthy’s leadership. Since then, we’ve done it five times.”

House Republicans elected Johnson as the House speaker following the ousting of McCarthy and the failed nominations of Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA)Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Tom Emmer (R-MN).

He previously served as a senior attorney and national spokesperson for the anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), filing lawsuits against same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, and same-sex marital benefits. 

While serving in the Louisiana state legislature from 2015 to 2017, Johnson introduced a so-called “religious freedom” bill to legalize discrimination against married same-sex couples. He told the Baptist Message that he was “on the front lines of the ‘culture war’ defending religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and biblical values, including the defense of traditional marriage.”

Last December, Johnson introduced a federal version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law called the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act.” 

Johnson has previously said that same-sex marriage will lead to “chaos and sexual anarchy” and “place our entire democratic system in jeopardy by eroding its foundation.” He claimed legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to “pedophiles” seeking legal protections for having sex with kids and people trying to marry their pets. He has also said, “Homosexual relationships are inherently unnatural… ultimately harmful and costly for everyone.”

In December, journalist Melissa Gira Grant labeled Johnson “the most disturbing and influential Christian nationalist of 2023.”

Originally published here.

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