News and Analysis

Sunday Media Wrap: All Eyes On Mike Johnson As House Pushes Through Spending Bill
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) applauds for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as he addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House of Representatives with at the U.S. Capitol on April 11, 2024 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

For those who don’t spend their Sunday mornings glued to the television — and their Sunday afternoons attempting to dig through a week’s worth of network and cable news media spin — The Daily Wire has compiled a short summary of what you may have missed.

This Sunday, all eyes were on House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) — and despite some rumblings from a few House Republicans threatening to take his gavel via the same Motion to Vacate that ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — members of both parties (surprise!) came to his defense.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) sang Johnson’s praises on ABC’s “This Week,” saying that his efforts to shepherd an aid bill — for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan — through the House over the objections of some within his own party had displayed a “profile in courage.”

“I am so proud of the Speaker, Mike Johnson,” McCaul told ABC host Jonathan Karl. “He went through a transformation … putting the nation above yourself.”

Johnson, when asked about attempts to oust him from the speakership, said that his intention was simply to do his job, not to walk around the Capitol fretting about whether or not someone would put forth a Motion to Vacate.

The Foreign Affairs Committee Chair went on to say that he believed Johnson had done “the right thing” in supporting the aid package, arguing that the United States could not abandon Ukraine the same way President Joe Biden’s administration had abandoned Afghanistan.

“I think the stock in Mike Johnson has gone way up. I think the respect for him has gone way up — because he did the right thing.”

Despite being a member of the opposition party, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) threw his support behind Johnson as well — largely because of his work to pass the Ukraine aid package — and said that he would even go so far as to vote to support the Republican Speaker, should a Motion to Vacate force another vote.

“I would actually vote to table any motion to vacate him … He did the right thing here and he deserves to keep his job until the end of the term,” Khanna told Karl. But Khanna made it clear his goodwill toward Johnson would be short-lived, noting that he believed Democrats would retake the House in November — so once the current term ends, he believes the new House Speaker might be House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).

Even Donna Brazile, former interim Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), voiced her tentative approval of Speaker Johnson: “I have to say this, I’m a Louisianan, I’m always proud when Louisiana people come through — especially someone with LSU ties.”

She went on to say that while Johnson was certainly not what she would call a “moderate,” “at the end of the day, he decided to go with history and to be the soul who understood what’s at stake.”

Several other shows on the Sunday circuit played variations on the same theme.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) told host Margaret Brennan that he didn’t think there would be enough Republicans to vote Johnson out of the Speakership.

“You gotta take anything seriously,” Cole said of the threats to oust Johnson — but he also said that he didn’t believe they’d be successful because not as many Republicans would oppose Johnson as had opposed McCarthy and some Democrats (like Khanna) were likely to vote to protect Johnson because they agreed with him on the Ukraine aid at least.

He also argued that too many House members — from both parties — likely remembered how chaotic things had been when they did not have a Speaker at all. “They also had a taste of what it’s like to go without a speaker for three weeks. I don’t think they want that again,” he said.

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) addressed the issue on CNN’s “State of the Union,” saying, “The House is a rough and rowdy place, but Mike Johnson is going to be just fine.”

“Unlike Joe Biden’s poor Uncle Bosie, I think Mike Johnson’s going to avoid the cannibals in his own party,” Republican commentator Ken Jennings agreed. “He stood up to them this weekend, and the adults retook control of the U.S. Congress … I think and I hope that Democrats will continue to stand with Mike Johnson for a functional Congress.”

“You know, there’s a wide middle in this country,” Jennings continued, saying that Johnson’s goal appeared to be to drag American politics “away from the dysfunctional fringe” and back into that middle space.

Former White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield agreed, saying that Johnson “should absolutely get credit for taking a bold position here. He probably decided, you know what, this job isn’t worth having if I’m not doing something. So I think it was impressive and I think the way he laid out a values-driven argument, particularly for Ukraine, was impressive.”

Not everyone got the memo that Sunday was Mike Johnson’s day, however. Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, for example, kept hammering the same nail she’s been working at since landing her MSNBC show — “Inside With Jen Psaki”: former President Donald Trump.

The majority of Psaki’s show was an interview with Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) — who has often been floated as a likely replacement candidate in the event that President Joe Biden has to exit the 2024 race — and while they focused primarily on abortion, they did take time to discuss Trump’s Manhattan hush-money trial.

Psaki brought up the trial — along with reports that some people believe it actually helps Trump more than it hurts him — and asked Newsom how he would explain to voters why the trial matters.

The California governor argued briefly that it should matter to everyone — but quickly pivoted to warn Psaki that he didn’t think it helpful in the long run to give more attention to Trump. “When we’re focusing on him, I do worry, electorally, that he has a slight advantage. I’m a little concerned about the overindulgence … The consequential nature of a criminal trial is profound and outsized in some respects, but not more outsized than democracy.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Sunday Media Wrap: All Eyes On Mike Johnson As House Pushes Through Spending Bill