After a rather epic lesson in public humiliation due to his own forced errors, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) blamed “the body” of the U.S. House instead of the “leader” (himself) on Wednesday.
CNN’s Manu Raju reported, “Speaker Johnson non-committal on moving on Senate’s Ukraine-Israel-Taiwan package. Defends handling of agenda. Says process is “messy.”
Asked him about criticism in ranks. Said: ‘I don’t think this is a reflection on the leader. It’s a reflection on the body itself.’”
News — Speaker Johnson non-committal on moving on Senate’s Ukraine-Israel-Taiwan package. Defends handling of agenda. Says process is “messy.”
Asked him about criticism in ranks. Said: “I don’t think this is a reflection on the leader. It’s a reflection on the body itself.” pic.twitter.com/LK3pTUy655
To get more stories like this, subscribe to our newsletter The Daily.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 7, 2024
Johnson is doing a lot of ducking and dodging to blame “divided government” and claims this is what democracy looks like. But in fact, Republicans tried to impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas over the border, which they themselves have been refusing to fund as needed since they came into power last year.
On Tuesday, Johnson led the House to a failed vote to impeach Mayorkas over issues that he and his own caucus are actually helping to create.
The Republican Speaker failed to bring that impeachment vote due to bad counting. The final vote was 214-216, with four Republicans joining all 212 Democrats in voting no. Johnson is blaming one Democrat showing up unexpectedly for the failure, but certainly this is not a move we witnessed under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who knew how to count and how and when to bring votes forward.
Johnson led his caucus into killing the bipartisan border deal that was brimming with giveaways to Republicans even though they have a slim majority in the House and Democrats lead the Senate and White House, which is another way of saying they got more than they had any right to and then they walked away from the win because Trump told them to because he is planning on running on the border and can’t afford to have it addressed prior to the election.
Republicans had insisted on tying aid to Ukraine to the border package as a way to force Democrats, who correctly see Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a threat to global democracy, into bargaining. So Republicans weaponized against western democracy to get what they said they wanted on the border, since many of them are not inclined to help Ukraine, finding their party more affiliated with Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
By walking away from this bipartisan deal, they put U.S. national security at risk and imperiled aid to Ukraine & Israel.
The Speaker (who compared himself to Moses at a Christian nationalist event, in case you were wondering about his thinking process) then tried to lift a separate stand alone package to Israel, but this also failed with 166 Democrats and 14 Republicans voting against it.
After all of these failures yesterday, the man who thinks God chose him to be Speaker fled the Capitol, avoiding reporters.
Today, however, he stood there with a smirk on his face and blamed the entire body of the U.S. House, which is a not so subtle dig at some in his own caucus who didn’t play ball with his shell games, as well as blaming the “process” of democracy.
Democracy as a process was not about a slim majority in one half of one branch of government hijacking the entire political process to appease their criminally-indicted, adjudicated-rapist political candidate for the presidency.
Democracy is messy, but this is not what democracy looks like. We note that Speaker Johnson does not listen to anyone but the MAGA branch and the Boss, Donald Trump, who himself faces accusations of inciting a terrorist attack on his own country and tried to steal the votes of the majority of Americans in his attempted self-coup. That is not what democracy looks like.
Nothing speaks to Johnson’s sense of entitlement to dominant, ruling power (which is the opposite of the democratic process) than his belief that God chose him which is why he is in power (and thus, it is inferred, shouldn’t be questioned, this is the divine right argument that the U.S. rejected in the Revolutionary War), but…. God did NOT pick President Joe Biden. So, only Johnson’s power is legitimate, in his mind.
This argument sums up the Republican approach to “governing”: It is their way or no way. Only they are entitled to set policy, even when the American people made their will known that they preferred Democrats to set these policies. Republicans know they would likely not even be in charge of the House without having corrupted the political processes through gerrymandering and voter suppression, yet they act as if they alone are entitled to set policy demands and impeach someone from whom they are withholding the funds to do his job as he needs to do it.
This is more the description of a toxic work environment than the democratic process.
Appeasing Donald-I-keep-classified-documents-in-the-bathroom-of-my-club-for-anyone-willing-to-pay-for-entry-Trump is not what democracy looks like. Undermining western democracy by turning their backs on Ukraine is not what democracy looks like. And deliberately tanking the best deal they are ever likely to get on the border because having a crisis at the border is better for their Boss politically is not what democracy looks like.
Let us remind Republicans that Donald Trump is not the president; he was not chosen; he was rejected by the voters. Taking orders from him is the opposite of honoring democracy.
If the border is a national security threat, as Trump and Republicans keep saying it is, then why did they walk away? They will be forced to answer this question on the campaign trail and there isn’t a legitimate answer.
It’s not the U.S. House body’s fault that Johnson is a failure as a leader. Nancy Pelosi led this very same body, and she held a masterclass on how to lead. The only “body” responsible for this chaos is the Republican conference, who can’t stick with any Speaker for too long no matter how much that Speaker appeases Donald Trump and the MAGA wing. So really, Johnson is blaming his own party for this failure, but he lacks the courage or perhaps even the knowledge to say so.
A Special Message From PoliticusUSA
If you are in a position to donate purely to help us keep the doors open on PoliticusUSA during what is a critical election year, please do so here.
We have been honored to be able to put your interests first for 14 years as we only answer to our readers and we will not compromise on that fundamental, core PoliticusUSA value.
Listen to Sarah on the PoliticusUSA Pod on The Daily newsletter podcast here.
Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.