Before being named speaker of the House in October, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) penned the foreword to a book written by a far right blogger in his home state that espouses a number of conspiracy theories.
The book, “The Revivalist Manifesto,” written by blogger Scott McKay, also includes derogatory comments about LGBTQ people and condemns the Movement for Black Lives.
Johnson’s foreword for the book, as well as his subsequent promotion of it, suggests that he endorses such views.
Although Johnson’s decision to attach himself to the book was made in 2022, CNN unearthed the lawmaker’s foreword in a report published this week. Johnson’s relative anonymity within the House of Representatives before being named speaker likely helped to keep the news under the radar when he penned the foreward last year.
Among the far right conspiracy theories that are included in the text, McKay baselessly alleges that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was blackmailed into siding with liberal bloc members of the Court on some cases, errantly tying Roberts to child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. McKay also parrots the “Pizzagate” hoax, falsely alleging that Democratic Party insiders were using a pizza restaurant in Washington D.C. as a front for child trafficking.
The book disparages Democratic Party officials, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, whom McKay describes as a “queer choice” for an official in President Joe Biden’s cabinet, which he claims was made to appease LGBTQ supporters. McKay also calls Interior Secretary Deb Haaland “half oppressed” because her mother is Native American while her father has Norwegian roots, and claims that Obama’s primary appeal to voters was “that he was black.” McKay also defended podcast host Joe Rogan’s past use of the n-word.
Johnson wrote around 300 words of praise for McKay’s book in the foreword last year.
“Scott McKay presents a valuable and timely contribution with ‘The Revivalist Manifesto’ because he has managed here to articulate well what millions of conscientious, freedom-loving Americans are sensing,” Johnson said in the foreword.
Johnson also actively promoted McKay’s book, hosting him on his podcast the same year to discuss its contents. “I obviously believe in the product, or I wouldn’t have written the foreword. So I endorse the work,” Johnson said.
Within that podcast, McKay derided what he referred to as “the trans movement,” and called on listeners to fight to “preserve” far right values by opposing it. Johnson also endorsed the “deep state” conspiracy theory, which is often pushed by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Johnson’s extremist viewpoints are largely unknown to the American public, despite the fact that he’s second in line for the presidency. Johnson likely isn’t a household name because he was chosen as a consensus option for Republicans after weeks of disagreement on a nominee for the speakership this fall.
An Economist/YouGov poll published this week demonstrates just how little Americans know about Johnson, as a plurality of respondents — 39 percent — say they don’t know enough to have an opinion on him. Thirty-five percent of respondents say they have an unfavorable view of Johnson, while just 25 percent say they have a favorable view.
Johnson has repeatedly espoused Christian nationalist views. He believes there should be no separation between church and state, and has said that God gives authority to elected officials to govern. He has expressed support for criminalizing consensual sexual relationships between gay partners, and touts the Bible as the basis of his political philosophy (while ignoring, as many right-wing politicians do, teachings about uplifting people who are dispossessed and marginalized).
“Go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. That’s my worldview,” Johnson said after being named speaker.
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