MAGA Mike Johnson Is Ineligible To Be Speaker
Or even a congressman! But Democrats would have to make a real move against him...
Democrats have been wrestling with the challenge of making the new House Speaker, Mike Johnson, famous. They have a lot of material to work with—his deep involvement in Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, his extremist views on abortion, homosexuality, Medicare, and Social Security. But it’s also a tall order.
Approximately nobody had heard of Mike Johnson until Republicans crammed him into the speakership, quick quick, before his record could be scrutinized, and Johnson doesn’t typically say obscene things to draw attention to himself like other MAGA-aligned House members do. Absent a salacious new scandal, familiarizing the public with a nondescript bore during a presidential election cycle, when everyone’s fixated on the top of the ticket, was always going to require creativity.
Opportunity knocks! In providing reporters a timeline for his plan to release more security-camera footage captured during the insurrection, Johnson told them he’d taken affirmative steps to protect the January 6 rioters from justice. "We have to blur some faces of persons who participated in the events of that day,” he said Tuesday, “because we don’t want them to be retaliated against and to be charged by the DOJ."
Johnson laid a lot of the fraudulent legal groundwork for Trump’s failed coup. According to Liz Cheney, he did this knowing his representations to the courts were meritless. And Democrats have thus exploited his surprisingly prominent role in the election conspiracy.
But Johnson cracked this vulnerability wide open.
Even without typical Trumpian Republican bluster—Johnson didn’t call the rioters great patriots or anything like that—Johnson’s decision to be an accessory after the fact generated rapid backlash. He revealed an intent to help unidentified insurrectionists evade justice, and people noticed. But with just a little bit of initiative, Democrats could turn that into a big, lasting problem for him, rather than something that dissipates into the news cycle.
By obscuring the identities of the rioters, Johnson may run afoul of section three of the Constitution’s 14th amendment.