Mike Johnson (R-La.) has served Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2017. During the 117th Congress, he was elected as vice chair of the House Republican Conference and also served as assistant whip, helping to “fight for core conservative principles… and implement the Republican agenda.”
Johnson had Trump’s endorsement but is unopposed in his run for reelection in 2022. With the GOP in control of Congress, he is expected to hold on to his vice chair position and become the fifth most powerful leader in the House.
After the 2020 presidential election, Johnson gained favor with GOP leaders by becoming “the most important architect of the Electoral College objections,” as the New York Times put it. “On the eve of the Jan. 6 votes, he presented colleagues with what he called a ‘third option,’” the Times explains. Instead of amplifying more outlandish claims of a stolen election, “he faulted the way some states had changed voting procedures during the pandemic, saying it was unconstitutional.” Roughly three-quarters of the 147 GOP Congress members who voted against certification cited his argument, which became “a Trojan horse that allowed lawmakers to vote with the president while hiding behind a more defensible case.”
Outside of politics, Johnson was a lawyer in private practice and a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. Earlier in his congressional career, he served as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, considered “the intellectual arsenal of conservatism in the House,” as he describes it on his congressional website. In 2019, during a House hearing on reparations, Johnson was booed multiple times for claiming that “monetary reparations from current taxpayers for the sins of Americans from many years ago” would be unjust and “almost certainly… unconstitutional.”
January 6, 2021
- On the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, Johnson tweeted: “We MUST fight for election integrity, the Constitution, and the preservation of our republic! It will be my honor to help lead that fight in the Congress today.”
- That night, just hours after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, Johnson led the battle cry in the “fight” as he and 146 other congressional Republicans refused to certify Biden’s win of the 2020 presidential election.
- Johnson voted against impeaching Trump for his role in inciting the mob that took a more rowdy approach to doing what he and his GOP colleagues did that day, too—disrupt congressional certification of the presidential election.
- Johnson voted against establishing a House committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.
- He later dismissed the Jan. 6 hearings as “political theater,” asserting that Democrats want to “change the narrative concerning the disastrous results of their 17 months of unilateral control of Washington. However, no amount of Hollywood-style production is going to distract the American people from the real issues that are causing them so much pain.”
- In June 2022, Johnson spoke on the House floor to say that most Americans have “moved on” and are no longer interested in hearing about the Jan. 6 insurrection (a claim that prompted a searing rebuttal from the Louisiana Voice, among others).
The Big Lie
- On Nov. 7, 2020, Johnson called Trump and urged him to keep making baseless claims of election fraud, tweeting that he said: “Stay strong and keep fighting, sir! The nation is depending upon your resolve. We must exhaust every available legal remedy to restore Americans’ trust in the fairness of our election system.”
- On Dec. 10, 2020, Johnson signed an amicus brief in a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the results of the presidential election in four swing states: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
- Just prior to voting against certifying Biden’s Electoral College win, Johnson posted a statement signed by 37 GOP House members saying, in part, that “since we are convinced the election laws in certain states were changed in an unconstitutional manner, the slates of electors produced under those modified laws are thus unconstitutional, not “regularly given” or “lawfully certified” as required by the Electoral Count Act of 1887….”
- Johnson’s strategy of citing the Constitution as a politically “safe” way to object to certifying the election results has also proven to be incredibly profitable. “Republican partisans have rewarded objectors with grass-roots support, paths to higher office and campaign money,” as the New York Times points out. “Corporate backers have reopened their coffers to lawmakers they once denounced as threats to democracy. And almost all the objectors seeking re-election are now poised to return to Congress” in 2023.
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