Renata Kiss, FISM News
Ever since conservative attorney Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) was elected Speaker of the House, liberals have wasted no time trying to smear the evangelical’s otherwise low-key reputation. While Johnson has been a unifying force for the GOP, his opponents are putting him on the “far right, extremist” spectrum of the conservative scale.
Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), ringleader of the Jan. 6 trials, called Johnson an “anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-gun safety, pro-Trump extremist,” partly based on Johnson’s defense of Trump during his first impeachment trials.
But it’s more than just name-calling. Democrats are hoping their so-called anti-MAGA rhetoric will discourage swing voters and moderates in the 2024 elections. One liberal strategist told The Hill that “MAGA Mike” is giving them the tools, namely Johnson’s consistently conservative voting record, to build their case.
And it seems like Democrats are willing to do just about anything to turn the public against the speaker, even if that means coming after Johnson’s Christian faith.
The Daily Beast called the evangelical a “Christofascist” who, in their words, wants to impose his “extreme religious views on the entire country” at the expense of basic American freedoms. The Washington Post likewise accused him of being a “pro-gun Christian nationalist.” These comments come after Johnson had previously stated that his worldview is based on Scripture, which inevitably influences his decision-making in Congress.
But possibly the worst comment came from liberal talk show host Bill Maher, who compared Johnson’s expression of faith to the recent mentally deranged mass shooter in Maine.
In an interview with Kaley McEnany, Johnson responded to Maher saying his accusation is “absurd and disgusting.”
“Our religion is based on love and acceptance, so to compare that worldview with the Taliban … or with some deranged shooter who murders people is absolutely outrageous,” Johnson said.
At the same time, Johnson said he accepts the onslaught of negative comments as part of his job.
“There are entire industries that are built to take down public leaders – effective political leaders like me,” Johnson said. “I’m not surprised by that. I mean, it comes with the territory. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
But the speaker wishes people would get to know him instead.
“I just wish they would get to know me,” Johnson said. “I’m not trying to establish Christianity as the national religion or something. That’s not what this is about at all.”
In defense of Johnson, Republican Rep. John Duarte (Cal.) described the newly elected speaker as a “good guy.”
“He’s not been in the middle of the cultural wars. He’s not been in the middle of the internal wars. He’s just a really good guy that everyone believes they can get along with and trust,” Duarte said.
Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) cautioned liberal pundits against causing unnecessary conflict in the House when more pressing issues are at stake. He also praised Johnson for creating the Civility Caucus upon his arrival in Congress.
“That’s a pretty remarkable thing for him to do — to come to Congress and spend some capital on talking about the importance of civility,” Dusty Johnson said. “When I came in two years later, he came to my office, sat down with me, talked to me about the importance of civility and asked me to join the Civility Caucus. “That shows you where his heart is at.”