Their Friends

Mike Johnson (LA-04)

Mike Johnson’s (LA-04) elevation to House Speaker following the ousting of Kevin McCarthy last year marks the ascent of one of the most far-right Congressional Republicans to one of the most powerful positions in the federal government. Even though he was not well-known before winning the gavel, Johnson’s status as a far-right conservative cannot be dismissed, with his record on reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigration going further than many of his nativist colleagues. Johnson’s slim majority has kept him beholden on many issues to the most far-right of his caucus.

On immigration, the Republican Study Committee, a Congressional group then chaired by Speaker Johnson, slammed DACA as “unconstitutional executive amnesty,” and supported sharply limiting birthright citizenship “to someone born of at least one U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States.” Johnson endorsed mass deportation by voting against legalization for millions of undocumented immigrants. He’s also been a fierce defender of the ineffective Title 42 policy, which was implemented under political pressure by the Trump administration and against the advice of public health experts.

“After the Biden administration tried to phase out Title 42 in spring 2022, Speaker Johnson filed an amicus brief supporting a Republican-led lawsuit blocking the measure. In a statement about the lawsuit, Johnson claimed Biden is ‘intentionally allowing the destruction of our country,’” the Southern Poverty Law Center said. It should come at no surprise that the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a notorious anti-immigrant hate group founded by late eugenicist John Tanton, immediately praised his candidacy for House Speaker.

Johnson has also endorsed the dangerous and vile white nationalist great replacement theory that now grips the GOP and has been connected to deadly domestic terror attacks in U.S. cities and has defended horrific rhetoric from fellow GOP leaders. When Donald Trump confidently claimed that immigrants were “poisoning of the blood,” a phrase used by the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler to justify the genocide of the Jewish community, Johnson defended the remarks, calling them “not hateful.”

Johnson excused Trump’s antisemitic rhetoric even though just a week prior, he gathered with other Congressional leaders to celebrate the first day of Hanukkah and denounce antisemitism.

“The elevation of Mike Johnson to Speaker of the House would encapsulate the ongoing descent of the Republican Party into a paranoid, extreme, fearful, conspiratorial, nativist, and anti-democratic party,” America’s Voice Senior Research Director Zachary Mueller warned following news that Johnson would be entering the speaker’s race.