Donald Trump, the first U.S. "president" to be impeached twice, get indicted on 91 felony counts, and attempt a coup against this nation's government, hasn't had much happen to him of late worth cheering about. That may be why he seems especially giddy at House Republican "moderates" rolling over to install one of his most loyal toadies as their new House speaker.
That's a social media post Trump made on his "Truth Social" website around midnight on Wednesday (we're not linking to it, obviously) that shows Rep. Mike Johnson posing with a newspaper in front of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office after Senate Republicans refused to investigate charges against Trump. Johnson lowers the paper, looks at the sign indicating Nancy Pelosi's office, and winks.
It's nothing unusual for the true sedition wing of the Republican Party, which encompasses the vast majority of them, but you can see why Trump believes he now personally owns the House lock, stock, and barrel. This is precisely the sort of performative defiance Trump demands of his lawyers. In a House that has consistently conspired to obstruct the legal cases against him, it's fair to say that Johnson, whose House legislative record consists of approximately nothing, now comes into the speaker post as Trump's newest top lawyer.
As a member of Congress, Johnson has the powers of the Constitution’s speech and debate clause behind him, which means he might even be the only one of Trump's lawyers not disbarred or in prison by the time the 2024 election rolls around.
Johnson isn't the only one who's been rolling over so that Trump can give him belly rubs. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wants some Trump attention as well:
For the record, that's almost certainly a mockup of what a Greene intern thinks Donald Trump would write on (sigh) a random journalist's media post, not Donald Trump doing it himself. Probably. We can say this because while the handwriting looks spot-on, the real Trump would have printed reporter Jake Sherman's post out on the back of a stolen classified document so there'd be a faint "DEIFISSALC" running through the picture.
But yes, the suck-up is strong among House seditionists.
The effectiveness of Trump's shiny new Johnson remains to be seen. As a backbencher, he appears to have good interpersonal relationships with Trump's fiercest loyalists while his legislative ineffectiveness has made him no real enemies. Moderates have neither lunged at him on the House floor nor told him they'll be withholding their support until he accounts for his long-term pattern of odiousness, so he's already doing better than fellow Trump allies Reps. Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan.
Johnson is an anti-abortion extremist who's already shown his eagerness to mix church and state while waving the speaker's gavel. But from now until the 2024 elections, those godly interests may be put on a back burner while Johnson and the other architects of an attempted coup focus on sabotaging Trump's multiple prosecutions, targeting and demonizing his courthouse opponents, and promoting the very same Rudy Giuliani-stoked hoaxes that got Trump impeached twice and resulted in militia-led attempts to capture or kill their fellow members of Congress.
Trump, obviously, would prefer that Johnson focus on the latter. And if there's just one thing we've learned during the extended fiasco of House Republicans booting one speaker only to sputter for weeks on picking the next, it is that House Republicans prioritize what Donald Trump wants above everything else—including their own reelection chances.
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