Speaker Johnson's Shifting Sands of Public Opinion
There’s now a constant wrangling of public perception and opinion on who Rep. Mike Johnson is, and who he is not.
The national media is abuzz in Washington with frenzied news coverage of Rep. Mike Johnson immediately after ascending to his new job as Speaker of the House. There’s now a constant wrangling of public perception on who Johnson is, and who he is not.
We know Johnson as the Congressman who has represented the people of his fourth congressional district, which encompasses much of Western Louisiana in Congress, for the past 7 years.
They also know him as a 51-year-old Republican who is a staunch Christian conservative and family man.
But a growing number of Americans are focusing on his abortion pend even a few minutes with friends or colleagues back here at home --- and you’ll quickly see how fiercely loyal they are to Speaker Johnson. That includes Louis Avallone.
He is the chairman of the Caddo Parish GOP party – the very same organization that Johnson technically still serves as Vice-Chair… and truly is a good leader.
One of the most important characteristics of being a leader is to know who you are. And Mike Johnson knows who he is.”
Avallone tells me “Mike”- as refers to his friend and colleague, shared who he is to the country, with remarks Johnson made right after taking the oath as the 56th Speaker of the House. His strong faith, his commitment to his family, to his constituents and while we’ve called him friend for so long now today, we are honored to also call him Speaker of the House. And Mike Johnson, we are praying for you.”
Yet, an essay Johnson wrote in 2003 is getting renewed attention, because of his defense of so-called Sodomy laws that criminalize homosexual activity. In A separate editorial a year later, Johnson cautioned that same-sex marriage was a “dark harbinger” of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic. Johnson also supports a nationwide ban on abortion. And he’s said doctors who give abortion care should be imprisoned at hard labor… by enforcing the Louisiana law already in place to do so.
Local LGBTQ activist Alana Oldham tells me the mood has changed lately, into a climate of fear for some. “I’m 53 years old and I’ve been out as a lesbian since I was 18 and I’ve never once been afraid for my safety until 2023 happened.” Oldham cites one remark in particular by Johnson that left the greatest impression on her: “I’m looking at this quote from Mike Johnson where he says every American woman has a duty to birth at least one able-bodied worker. And that is just, that’s Handmaid’s Tale level scary stuff.”
Before his ascension to speaker, Johnson was perhaps best known as a leader in the efforts to overturn the 2020 Election. In recent days, Johnson replied to a question about his world view by saying:
“Go pick-up a Bible and read it. That’s my worldview.”
Johnson says he “Genuinely loves all people, regardless of their lifestyle choices.” But he also “makes no apologies for his views.”
We have reached out several times for an interview with Speaker Johnson and are still awaiting a response.