New House Speaker Has History Of Bluntly Confronting Democrats
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

New House Speaker Mike Johnson has a history of outspoken, blunt rhetoric when it comes to battling the Democrats. Here are a few examples:

Last February, Republicans engaged in a war of words over the Pledge of Allegiance with the Democrats as the Democrats attempted to politicize the issue.

Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz had offered an amendment allowing “inspirational constituents to share and lead in the Pledge of Allegiance.” Ranking member New York Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler remonstrated that the House already opened its meetings with a recitation of the Pledge, arguing, “I don’t know why we should pledge allegiance twice in the same day to show how patriotic we are.”

“I’m not seeing Mr. Nadler on the floor when the Pledge is done; most members are not present there, so it’s not accurate to say we do the Pledge every day or participate every day,” Johnson snapped. “It may be offered, but we’re not there for it. This is the work of the Judiciary Committee; this is the committee that has charge of the Constitution, the fundamental freedoms, defending the very freedoms that the flag represents. It’s a bit absurd to suggest we couldn’t take 30 seconds at the beginning of this important work to do what should be done by all Americans. … I wish we had done this two years ago.”

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) apparently tried to politicize the issue by citing January 6, then offered an amendment to the amendment, saying, “Provided, however, the Pledge shall not be led by an individual who supported an insurrection against the government of the United States in any way.”

Johnson addressed Cicilline and his cynical amendment directly, declaring, “I think it’s unfortunate that on the very first day, the adoption of the Rules package, by overly politicizing something that should not be politicized. You and I both know whether you want to acknowledge it here or not, this is about politics; this is a completely superfluous amendment; you’re making it political to try to make a point, and we get it. … I don’t think there’s any insurrectionist who’s going to show up to offer the Pledge and if they would they would not be recognized and so this completely unnecessary.”

“Maybe we should amend the rules to begin with a prayer as well. That would really offend some of our friends on the other side,” Johnson stated. “They have made the effort in the last couple of years to remove ‘under God’ from the witness oath here that has been a tradition of the United States Congress for as long as anyone can remember.”

Cicilline’s amendment was defeated. Gaetz’s amendment was passed unanimously.

In July, Johnson lacerated DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his agency deciding what is true and false, pointing out that a court had found that DHS made no distinction between domestic speech and foreign speech when attempting to quash discourse.

“I’m not sure exactly what you do at the Department of Homeland Security other than great harm,” he declared.

Johnson later fired, “I’ve only got 25 seconds. I don’t have time for a question because you’ll be elusive but since we’re stating things for the record, I’ve been in Congress [for] seven years. I think you are the most dishonest witness that has ever appeared before the Judiciary Committee.”

In October 2021, Johnson grilled Attorney General Merrick Garland over a possible conflict of interest from a memo Garland wrote after reading about a letter sent by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to President Biden. In the letter, the National School Boards Association stated, “As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

Johnson repeatedly asked Garland if he had asked for ethical guidance as to the propriety of the memo; Garland repeatedly answered that the memorandum targeted “violence and threats of violence,” but would not commit to any kind of an ethics inquiry.

Johnson pointed out, “We need objective third-parties to review our activities. You don’t get to make that decision yourself.”

At another hearing, Johnson managed to irritate one Democrat to the point that she threw documents in his face.

Related: ‘Two Completely Different Worldviews’: House GOP Rips Dems Politicizing Pledge Of Allegiance

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