At this point, the shocking thing about House Speaker Mike Johnson is not his extremist views but how brazenly he’s flaunted them.
Here’s the latest: Johnson wrote the foreword for the book The Revivalist Manifesto, which was written by far-right Louisiana politics blogger Scott McKay, CNN reported Friday. Johnson and McKay have collaborated before: The lawmaker has written numerous pieces for McKay’s blog. The book in question was published in 2021, and the following year, Johnson promoted it heavily on social media and on his podcast.
The book is a cavalcade of homophobia, classism, widely debunked conspiracy theories, and weird falsehoods, all of which Johnson has described as a “valuable and timely contribution” to public discourse.
McKay “has managed here to articulate well what millions of conscientious, freedom-loving Americans are sensing,” Johnson said in the foreword.
What are they sensing? Well for starters, the book pushes multiple conspiracy theories, including the “Pizzagate” conspiracy that promotes the idea that prominent Democrats were running a child sex trafficking ring partly through a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C. Pizzagate has fueled a spiraling array of other conspiracy theories and myths; its most direct ideological successor is QAnon.
McKay’s tome also repeats the falsehood that the Democratic National Committee’s emails were not hacked in 2016 but rather leaked by staffer Seth Rich, whose later death in an attempted robbery fueled further conspiracy theories alleging he was murdered in a hit ordered by Democratic Party officials. This became a popular right-wing conspiracy, and Rich’s parents sued Fox News for publishing a story linking Rich’s death to these myths. The Rich family settled with Fox in 2020.
Elsewhere in the book, McKay claims climate change is just “hysteria” and says it is not linked to carbon dioxide emissions. He also says that the Biden administration is letting undocumented immigrants in to create more Democratic voters.
McKay implies that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was linked to sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. He also repeatedly insults Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, calling him “openly, and obnoxiously, gay.” Elsewhere in the book, McKay defends podcaster Joe Rogan for using the n-word and says poor voters are “unsophisticated and susceptible to government dependency.”
In addition to writing the book’s foreword, Johnson promoted the book repeatedly on his social media accounts in 2022. He also had McKay on an episode of the podcast Johnson hosts with his wife. During the episode, Johnson said McKay was a “dear friend” and that the book “really could make some waves.”
At this point, it really should come as no surprise that Johnson espouses such far-right beliefs. The man flies a Christian nationalist flag outside his office and regularly speaks at right-wing events. His new chief of staff spent the last year working for an organization that supports conversion therapy.
Johnson has cited the “great replacement theory,” the far-right theory that white people are being replaced by nonwhite immigrants, and he has blamed the fall of Rome on LGBTQ people. (Johnson, it must be said, has range.)
The most shocking thing about all of this is that Republicans didn’t check to see who exactly Johnson was before they decided to make him the new, weird face of their party.