Mar 16, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Mike Johnson says second term for Trump would be like first but 'on turbo'

headshot
Mike Johnson walks

Speaker Johnson walks through the Capitol. Photo: Kent Nishimura for The New Yorker. Used by kind permission

A second term for former President Trump would be like the first, but "on turbo," House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told The New Yorker.

Why it matters: He was the feature of staff writer David D. Kirkpatrick's profile, which was published Friday, the same day the White House proclaimed that the speaker's impeachment inquiry of President Biden is over.

State of play: Trump "learned a lot of painful lessons in his first term," including that liberal bureaucrats "might be working against him," Johnson told Kirkpatrick.

Catch up quick: Johnson has repeatedly praised Trump's policies. He called on Biden to follow the former president's agenda on border security, resuming construction of the promised border wall and ending parole programs that allow border crossing.

The intrigue: Kirkpatrick, however, writes: "Saying that you admire Trump for his policies ... recalls the way men used to say that they read Playboy for the articles."

Our thought bubble: Axios' congressional reporter Andrew Solender writes: "GOP primaries in the 2022 midterms demonstrated the perils of showing disloyalty to Trump, and ambitious Republicans are taking note."

  • This can be seen in Republicans endorsing Trump even in districts President Biden won in 2020.

Zoom in: Kirkpatrick described Johnson as "outwardly deferential but privately ambitious."

  • The writer called Johnson "a professed Trump true believer whose courteous, churchy persona is virtually the opposite of the insult-spewing, porn-star-paying former President's."

Behind the scenes: Kirkpatrick described an environment in which "rank and file" Republicans are "unintimidated" by Johnson, often leaking what he says to the press.

Case in point: House Republicans heckled Biden during his State of the Union address despite pleas of civility from Johnson.

  • Rep. Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.) begged Johnson to "get his conference under control and educate his members on proper decorum."

Go deeper: Mike Johnson urged to get GOP "under control" after SOTU outbursts

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