Norman Ornstein of the conservatively leaning American Enterprise Institute is arguing that the GOP’s latest House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana should not be in power in connection to (most recently) his mass release of Capitol footage from January 6, 2021.
The release was positioned to help advance conspiracy theories that the day’s violent events weren’t as bad as described, with some on the far-right already taking and flatly misrepresenting isolated clips.
“Mike Johnson is a disgrace. Abetted a violent insurrection, and now sugar coats it. This man should be nowhere near a position of authority, much less Speaker of the House,” Ornstein wrote on X (Twitter). His reference to abetting an insurrection covers the role Johnson had in advancing challenges after the last presidential election to its results. He helped shepherd the House GOP support for the failed Texas lawsuit challenging Biden’s 2020 wins in several other states, and he also helped lead the charge on the House floor for voting against certain electoral votes that Biden had nabbed in the 2020 race.
Johnson has also faced criticism for his self-evident interest in incorporating a puritanical form of Christianity into his political approach. In semi-recent footage highlighted in recent days by MSNBC, Johnson complained about what he described as an unfolding downfall of U.S. society, lumping the rate at which youth have identified as LGBTQ+ with rates of mental illness, all of which he also grouped with complaints like declines in church attendance and supposedly rising rejections of the concept of absolute truth.
Rev. Al Sharpton called Johnson’s version of Christianity a perversion. “I think hypocrisy is the kindest word you could use,” Sharpton said, live on MSNBC. “It’s also a distortion of what he claims to be his religion. Because what happens to the part in the Bible about love your neighbor?… They selectively misquote parts of the Bible to distort some very conservative, right-wing, archaic politics.”