Suddenly Mike Johnson Is Worried About 'Extreme' GOP House Candidates

Rep. Mike Johnson

Speaker Mike Johnson

After Rep. Mike Johnson's (R-LA) confirmation as House Speaker, many reports focused on his far-right Christian nationalist views and efforts to help former President Donald Trump overturn the 2020 election results. Yet Johnson has avoided the bombastic, strident, brash style that is characteristic of so many MAGA Republicans. And the speaker, according to reporting in Politico, showed some pragmatism during a recent meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Johnson, Politico reporters Olivia Beavers and Ally Mutnick explain in an article published on March 1, is worried about the paltry size of his House majority — which has been shrinking thanks to a series of departures and resignations. And Johnson, during the meeting, encouraged the former president to get behind the more electable candidates in GOP primary races.

Johnson, Beavers and Mutnick report, was "making the case that certain extreme candidates could blow the party's chances in battleground districts with primaries this month."

"Johnson's requests included seeking the president's help neutralizing the controversial J.R. Majewski, who has roiled the GOP primary for a must-win Ohio swing seat," the Politico reporters note. "The House GOP leaders also inquired if Trump could endorse other candidates, including Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), and updated him on their preferences in key upcoming primaries in California and North Carolina. Trump was generally receptive to their requests, according to three people familiar with the meeting who were granted anonymity to speak candidly about it."

Beavers and Mutnick continue, "Given Majewski's strong MAGA lean and Rep. Matt Gaetz's (R-FL) support for Bost's opponent, it was hardly a given. Overall, the meeting signaled that Johnson has developed a strategic partnership with the former president, who is again the de facto chief of the Republican Party."

Trump ended up endorsing Bost. But Johnson's challenge, according to Beavers and Mutnick, is to "avoid candidates like Majewski who risk blowing Republicans' chances in swing seats next fall" but without "alienating the ex-president."

Johnson discussed his meeting with Trump during a February 29 interview with Politico, saying, " We talked about Bost. He has always been a Trump supporter, and he agreed to endorse him. But I haven't spoken to him in detail about a lot of the other races."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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