On October 25, after several weeks that saw dysfunction, chaos, humiliation, and anonymous threats to at least one lawmaker’s wife, Republicans finally elected a Speaker of the House to succeed Kevin McCarthy: Mike Johnson, a representative from Louisiana who has the distinction of being the least experienced Speaker in more than a century.

At the time of Johnson’s accession, a lot of Americans likely had no idea who he was; actual Republican senator Susan Collins, for one, told a reporter she didn’t know Johnson but planned to remedy that by googling him. And if you weren’t familiar with Johnson, you might’ve assumed that that was maybe even a good thing—that he was just a quiet Republican who hadn’t gotten wrapped up in the insanity plaguing the GOP over the last seven or so years. He didn’t have the name recognition of, say, Jim Jordan or Matt Gaetz, but perhaps that simply spoke to the fact that he wasn’t leading a series of absurd hearings in an attempt to take down Joe Biden; or bragging about being so devoted to Donald Trump that he answered his phone calls during sex. Maybe, you might have thought, he wasn’t someone you’d have to constantly worry about re: undermining democracy or trying to take away people’s rights.

Unfortunately, that is not the case with Johnson, who may not have been well known prior to being given one of the most powerful jobs in government but is very much someone whose extremist views and actions should keep you up at night.

Herein, a running list of the absolute most WTF things the new Speaker has said and done on everything from the 2020 election to abortion to LGBTQ+ rights and more.


Johnson is proudly antiabortion. When Roe v. Wade was overturned last year, he called it “a great, joyous occasion,” later writing, “We will get the number of abortions [in Louisiana] to ZERO!!” As an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, now known as the Alliance Defending Freedom, he worked on efforts to shut down abortion clinics in the state. In Congress, he cosponsored legislation that would have banned abortions at about six weeks of pregnancy, i.e., a time when many people do not even know they’re pregnant. He’s beloved by the antiabortion organization Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which has given him an A+ rating. In 2015, he blamed school shootings on abortion, telling writer Irin Carmon, “When you break up the nuclear family, when you tell a generation of people that life has no value, no meaning, that it’s expendable, then you do wind up with school shooters.”

In some real Handmaid’s Tale shit, he declared during a House hearing that if women were forced to have more children, a.k.a. “able-bodied” workers, there would be more funding for Social Security and Medicare:

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