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FACT SHEET: MAGA Mike Johnson Is A Threat To Democracy

Oct 31, 2023

House Republicans have a new election denier in charge: MAGA extremist Mike Johnson. MAGA Mike is a Trump acolyte who was an architect of the effort to overturn the 2020 election and continues to this day to raise questions about its legitimacy. He embraced Trump’s conspiracy theories about voting machines and used the fringe independent state legislature theory to justify his anti-democratic efforts. Johnson urged Trump supporters to “fight” on January 6, 2021, then refused to investigate the attacks and hold accountable those responsible for the violence that day. It should come as no surprise that the MAGA Republican is a strong advocate for the House GOP’s bogus impeachment against President Biden. It’s clear that Mike Johnson will only use the speaker’s gavel to try and undermine our democracy, restore Trump to power, and pursue an extreme MAGA Republican agenda that throws hard-working American families under the bus.

Mike Johnson: Architect of Election Denial

After the 2020 Election, Mike Johnson Said The Election Was “Rigged”: “I Don’t Concede Anything.” “I don’t concede anything. […] Look, here’s the thing, I’ve talked to the president in the last few days, and he is still dug-in on this. […] In Georgia, it really was rigged. It was set up for the Biden team to win.” [KEEL 101.7FM, ‘Robert and Erin’, 11/17/20, AUDIO]

Mike Johnson Was In Close Contact With Trump After The 2020 Election, Encouraging Him To “Stay Strong And Keep Fighting!” The day after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the election, Johnson said he called Donald Trump and told him: “‘Stay strong and keep fighting, sir! The nation is depending upon your resolve. We must exhaust every available legal remedy to restore Americans’ trust in the fairness of our election system.’” Johnson stayed in regular communication with Donald Trump in the weeks between the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Shortly after the election, Johnson tweeted, “President Trump called me last night and I was encouraged to hear his continued resolve to ensure that every LEGAL vote gets properly counted and that all instances of fraud and illegality are investigated and prosecuted.” 

  • Johnson Was A Close Ally of The President During The Trump Administration & Defended Him At Both Impeachment Trials. Johnson was a trusted member of Trump’s inner circle, and frequently traveled with Trump on Air Force One during his term. Johnson proudly served on the defense team for both of Trump’s impeachment trials in the Senate. During Trump’s first impeachment Johnson made nearly 50 TV appearances to defend the president.

Mike Johnson Led The Legal Effort In The House To Overturn the 2020 Election. As the New York Times reported, Johnson was “the most important architect of the Electoral College objections” in the House. Johnson pressured his colleagues to support the Texas lawsuit that sought to overturn the election on the unconstitutional premise that the expansion of vote by mail during the pandemic was illegal. Johnson managed to collect signatures from more than 60 percent of House Republicans. Johnson boasted on Twitter of Trump’s approval of his efforts, calling the Texas suit “the big one” that would enable Trump to remain in office.

Mike Johnson Urged Trump Supporters To “Fight!” On The Morning Of January 6, 2021, and Voted Against Certifying The Election Results. On the morning of January 6th, Johnson tweeted “We MUST fight for election integrity, the Constitution, and the preservation of our republic!” Later that day, Johnson voted to overturn the 2020 election, refusing to certify the results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Mike Johnson Has Deep Ties To Christian Nationalists Who Helped Fuel The January 6th Insurrection. “Politically extreme conservative Christians were some of the foremost leaders who bought into and bolstered Trump’s 2020 election lies, who used theology to justify their own authoritarianism, and who have brought their extremist theologies into the heart of right-wing politics. Mike Johnson can be located in this group. […] First, Jim Garlow and Mario Bramnick were very important evangelical advisers to Trump who frequently met with the former president. They are both also influential apostles within the NAR movement, and they were instrumental in sparking the Christian rage that fueled the conflagration of January 6th. […] [Johnson] has described admiring and following [Trump’s former evangelical advisor] Jim Garlow for more than two decades. ‘You’ve been a profound influence on my life and my walk with Christ, brother,’ Johnson told Garlow during one World Prayer Network call. […] There is no contradiction in observing that Mike Johnson is both a mild-mannered, courteous, conservative evangelical Christian and a politically extreme ideologue. He has surrounded himself with some of the most dangerous, anti-democratic Christian leaders in the country—the same people who theologized the January 6th insurrection—and offered them his public support and praise.” [The Bulwark, 10/30/23]

  • Mike Johnson Said The U.S. Should Be Based On A “Biblical Design For What Government Is Supposed To Be.” “Why are we the most free, most successful, most powerful nation in the history of the world? Why have we been that up to this point, right? And the answer, of course, is because we followed that design, the biblical design for what government is supposed to be. […] [W]hat’s happened to us now? And how do we get back to it? How do we salvage this? How do we keep the Republic right? And the answer is determined back to what you just said to God’s truth. That’s right. You’re the moral absolutes. This is not a mystery. He’s laid it all out for us. That’s right. And and we are derelict in our duty if we allow the culture to slip away from us, you know, the church believers, people who understand the truth…” [Truth Be Told With Mike And Kelly Johnson, 4/29/23]

Mike Johnson Rejected Accountability For The Violence On January 6th, Calling Investigative Efforts A “Third Impeachment.” Johnson voted against creating a 9/11-style commission to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol complex on January 6, 2021. He has also refused to hold key figures accountable for the violence that day, voting against holding Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Johnson even attacked Democrats for holding hearings on January 6 and investigating the attack, referring to them as a “third impeachment,” and “pure political theater.”

Years Later, Johnson Has Continued To Claim That Election Interference Took Place In 2020. In an episode of his podcast airing in July 2023, Johnson claimed: “we have got to get on top of this right now to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future. […] if this is not election interference, how are we supposed to think about this? […] And we’ll never know, we can never unwind history to know what an effect that had. That’s just one example of so many.” [Truth Be Told With Mike And Kelly Johnson, 7/22/23]

Mike Johnson Refuses To Comment On If He Still Believes The 2020 Election Was Stolen: “My Position On This Is Known.” “Johnson on Wednesday declined to comment when asked whether he believed the 2020 election was stolen. ‘We’re not talking about any issues today,’ he told The Washington Post after emerging with the speaker’s gavel following weeks of dysfunction led by the most fervent Trump loyalists within the House GOP. ‘My position is very well-known.’” [The Washington Post, 10/25/23]

Mike Johnson Supported Fringe Conspiracy Theories About the 2020 Election

Mike Johnson Helped Spread Trump’s Conspiracy Theories About Dominion Voting Machines. Johnson amplified Trump’s conspiracy theories about Dominion voting machines: “[T]he allegations about these voting machines – some of them being rigged by this software by Dominion – look, there’s a lot of merit to that, and when the President says the election is rigged, that’s what he’s talking about…” [KEEL 101.7FM, ‘Robert and Erin’, 11/17/20, AUDIO]

Johnson Cited The Extreme Independent State Legislature Theory As Rationale For His Efforts To Overturn the 2020 Election. During an episode of Johnson’s podcast discussing the January 6th Committee hearings, Johnson pointed to the fringe independent state legislature theory as rationale for his efforts to overturn the election. The extreme legal theory purports that state legislatures have sole authority over elections, declaring court-ordered and non-legislative changes to election law unconstitutional. Johnson echoed this interpretation, telling his audience, “So what happened, though, in the months preceding the 2020 presidential election? Is it all those rules and procedures, all those long-established detailed rules and procedures that are used in the states to determine their electors were changed in a number of the states? Okay. Now, here’s the key, not by the legislatures, but instead by a variety of other officials, you had some governors, some Secretaries of State, some elections, officials, judges, even private parties, they changed the rules without constitutional authority.” [Truth Be Told With Mike And Kelly Johnson, 6/7/22]

Mike Johnson Baselessly Claimed That FBI Director Chris Wray Was “Hiding Something” About The FBI’s Role In January 6th Based On His “Body Language” During Testimony. During an episode of Johnson’s podcast discussing FBI Director Chris Wray’s appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Johnson alleged that Wray was “hiding something” about the FBI’s presence in the Capitol on January 6, echoing a conspiracy theory spread by right-wing extremists implying that federal agents had a role in orchestrating the insurrection: “They’ve been very evasive. And he did it again today. But I think you could tell by the way he answered that question. And certainly by his body language, he’s hiding something. […] he could just concede the truth of it, but he’s unwilling to do it. And what that does, of course, is it draws more suspicion, it just plays right into this narrative that has developed because of the evidence that the FBI is in on it, you know, it makes him look corrupt. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. But we don’t know. And that in itself is a problem…” [Truth Be Told With Mike And Kelly Johnson, 7/14/23]

Mike Johnson Supports The House GOP’s Bogus Impeachment of President Biden

Mike Johnson Indicated That House Republicans Are Likely To Impeach President Biden. During a Fox News interview, Johnson suggested that Republicans are likely to impeach President Biden: “If in fact all the evidence leads to where we believe it will – that’s very likely impeachable offenses. You know, that’s listed as a cause for impeachment in the constitution, you know, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery is listed there and it looks and smells a lot like that.” Just days later, Johnson revealed that he intended to issue a subpoena to Hunter Biden as part of the impeachment push. 

Mike Johnson Supports Impeaching President Biden. Johnson has been working to impeach President Biden and expressed support for Kevin McCarthy’s move to unilaterally launch an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Johnson has baselessly claimed “we have a lot of evidence” to support an impeachment inquiry, and “we have credible evidence that the President himself has engaged in bribery schemes.”

Mike Johnson Has Close Ties To Oversight Chair James Comer, Who Is Leading The Bogus Impeachment Efforts. Johnson also holds close ties with Oversight Chair James Comer, who has been leading the impeachment inquiry. Johnson invited Comer to appear on his own podcast at the end of August, where he called Comer, “one of my good friends for the past seven years” and a “super talented guy.” Johnson has also echoed Comer’s rhetoric on the Biden investigation, overhyping witness testimony that ultimately failed to show any evidence of wrongdoing: “This makes Watergate look like a walk in the park.”