House Republicans ended their lengthy, drama-filled search for a new speaker by selecting Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana. While he might be less notorious than some of his colleagues, Johnson holds many extremist beliefs—and by choosing him, the GOP has demonstrated its commitment to extremism.
The hunt for a leader
This saga began at the start of October when Kevin McCarthy was removed as speaker of the House by radical Republicans unhappy with his willingness to work with Democrats. McCarthy’s removal prompted a search for a new speaker.
House Republicans didn’t make that search easy—or dignified. As days without resolution turned into weeks, commentators were both amused and horrified at the debacle.
And finally, a selection
After some three weeks, House Republicans finally agreed on their fourth choice of speaker: Mike Johnson, a representative from Louisiana. His relative obscurity played a part in his success, whereas others, like Jim Jordan, failed.
The heir to the presidency
The battles over choosing the next speaker were so fierce, in large part, because of how powerful the position is. Among other things, the speaker is the second in line to the presidency, right below the VP.
Embrace the extremism
So, did Republicans choose a moderate candidate? Quite the opposite. While Mike Johnson isn’t as infamous as some of his more brash colleagues, he is undoubtedly on the far right of the Republican Party.
Johnson on Trump
For one thing, Johnson led the charge to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020. The New York Times called him the “most important architect of the Electoral College objections.”
Mandate of heaven
Additionally, Johnson is an extremely devout Christian. Right after winning the position of speaker, he said that he believed that “God is the one that raises up those in authority.… God has ordained and allowed each one of us to be brought here for this specific moment and this time.”
Appropriately for someone who believes they were specially selected by God, Johnson follows the Bible strictly. The day after winning the vote for speaker, he told Fox News, “Go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. That’s my worldview.”
Johnson on church and state
The separation of church and state is one of the most fundamental foundations of American democracy. You might not be surprised to learn Johnson isn’t a fan of the idea: In April, he dismissed it as “so-called.”
Johnson on women’s rights
Johnson’s extreme views on abortion have prompted many to draw comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopic novel in which fertile women are forced to birth children for the ruling classes. Johnson has argued against abortion by suggesting it reduces the number of “able-bodied workers in the economy,” and once said the judicial philosophy backing abortion rights was “no different than Hitler’s.”
Johnson on conspiracy theories
The extremism doesn’t end there. Johnson has also espoused views similar to the infamous “great replacement theory,” a white supremacist conspiracy in which elite liberals are working to gradually replace white people with nonwhite immigrants. Last year, he claimed that Democrats were enacting a plan “to turn all the illegals into voters.”
Johnson on LGBTQ+ rights
For years, Johnson has crusaded against even the most basic of rights for LGBTQ+ rights. He’s called being gay an “inherently unnatural” and “dangerous lifestyle.” “This is a free country,” he wrote in an editorial, “but we don’t give special protections for every person’s bizarre choices.”
Johnson on the kids
Johnson’s incorrect belief that being LGBTQ+ is a choice informs his spreading and supporting a growing conspiracy theory that elite liberals are indoctrinating young children into the LGBTQ+ community. “Whether it’s by scalpel or by social coercion,” he stated in July, the rise in high school students identifying as LGBTQ is “an attempt to transition the young people of our country.”
What Johnson represents
Many of Johnson’s views are not just incorrect—they’re wildly unpopular amongst Americans. The fact that the GOP elected him to the speaker of the House shows just how extreme the party has become.
Alleged Death Threats
Sleeping with a loaded gun is just one result of the growing death threats that House Republicans are dealing with, coming from the very MAGA movement they’ve nurtured and endorsed for years.
MAGA Lashes Out in All Directions
House Republicans who do not support right-wing Representative Jim Jordan’s campaign for House Speaker are under fire from the very supporters of Donald Trump’s MAGA movement that they themselves helped create.
Experiencing MAGA’s Criticism Firsthand
While the wrath of the “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) movement, popularized by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, is often aimed at liberals, this time, it’s targeting several House Republicans and giving them a taste of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the movement’s criticism.
Email with Offensive Language Targets Rep. Nick LaLota
Following his vote against Jordan, Representative Nick LaLota of New York reported receiving an email containing offensive language, which read: “Go f— yourself and die if I see your face, I will whip all the hair out of your f—ing head you f—ing scumbag.”
Threats Keep Pouring In
In a released statement, Rep. Drew Ferguson from Georgia revealed that his family started to receive death threats after voting against Jordan. He emphasized, “That is simply unacceptable, unforgivable, and will never be tolerated.”
Protecting Family Amid Threats
Ferguson, as reported by Axios, informed fellow House Republicans during a Thursday meeting that he has had to request a sheriff to be stationed at his daughter’s school “over death threats from the far right,” as well as one stationed at his residence.
Representative’s Wife Sleeps with Loaded Gun
House Republicans appear to be treating these death threats seriously, as the wife of Representative Don Bacon from Nebraska “has begun sleeping with a loaded gun after receiving increasingly menacing anonymous calls and texts,” according to The New York Times.
Four Death Threats and Office Eviction
On Thursday, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado stated, “I’ve had four death threats. I’ve been evicted from my office in Colorado … because the landlord is mad with my voting record on the speaker issue, and everybody in the conference is getting this. … Family members have been approached and threatened.”
Calling for Unity
Jordan addressed the death threats by publishing a statement on social media on Wednesday, stating, “No American should accost another for their beliefs. We condemn all threats against our colleagues, and it is imperative that we come together. Stop. It’s abhorrent.”
MAGA’s High Hopes for Jim Jordan
As soon as Jordan entered the race for House Speaker, he received quick approval from Trump, and the wide-reaching MAGA movement enthusiastically mobilized to witness one of their own getting a chance to lead.
“Get up in their face”
It is worth noting, especially in the wake of the recent death threats, that former Trump White House advisor Steve Bannon instructed his Trump-oriented podcast audience to target Republican dissenters. “Call them and get in their grill. Let them know what you think … Email, call their local office, all of it, burn it down. That’s right. Get up in their face,” he urged.
A Taste of Their Own Medicine
Those who rallied behind Trump seem to have a positive response to Bannon’s podcast instructions, but it ended up having adverse effects.
Republicans have now come face to face with the true frustration of people they’ve either put up with or nurtured for a long time, and it’s safe to say that the fury of the MAGA community is spreading uncontrollably in all directions.
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