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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Mike Johnson’s Surprise Mentor May Help Explain His Sudden RINO Pivot

'You were so gracious to me, in fact, that at times, it got me in trouble with my own members...'

(Matthew Doarnberger, Headline USA) House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has recently taken cues from the man who used to hold his current job in order to pass certain legislation.

Former Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, reportedly mentored him during the controversial passage of a foreign aid bill that sent money to both Israel and Ukraine.

Johnson, struggling to build consensus with a razor-thin GOP majority, faced threats from his right flank that he might face the same fate as his predecessor, former Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who was ousted from the speakership last year following a motion to vacate after a similar deal compromising with Democrats over a last-minute spending agreement.

Boehner, known for his unnatural tan and open displays of emotion, was the first speaker to be booted by a revolt by the nascent House Freedom Caucus in 2015, after failing to rein in the excesses of the Obama administration. He went on to become a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, even writing a book that attacked the GOP leader.

He also offered an appalling display of praise in 2022 for out-going speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., despite her vicious attacks on Republicans.

“You were so gracious to me, in fact, that at times, it got me in trouble with my own members,” he said during the unveiling of Pelosi’s portrait at the U.S. Capitol.

In a recent interview with Axios, Boehner praised Johnson for his ability to get the spending bills through, despite opposition from his own party.

“He’s got to go through this dance every day to try to appease his caucus,” Boehner said. “But at the end of the day, he knows what has to get done, and he finds a way to get it done.”

The Ohio native recently headlined a fundraiser in Cincinnati for Johnson’s Grow the Majority fundraising committee, during which Johnson called Boehner “a living legend.”

Boehner defended Johnson against the criticism that he had stabbed his own party in the back by permitting the passage of the $95 billion foreign aid package with help from Democrats.

It passed the Senate and was signed by President Biden in late April. Of the total spent, $60.84 billion went to Ukraine, $26 billion went to Israel and $8.12 billion went to the Indo-Pacific.

Johnson initially signaled that he planned to reject the bill, but following a tense White House meeting with top Democrat leaders and CIA Director William Burns, he began to change his tune.

He “may not have been thrilled with the Ukraine stuff early on,” Boehner said. “But once you become speaker, one, you learn a few more things; and two, the gravity of the issues you’re dealing with change as well.”

Proponents of the never-ending Ukraine war claim that USA support is the last backstop for democracy in Europe, and that after claiming the culturally Russian territory he has long coveted and threatened to take, Russian President Vladimir Putin would then continue his expansion onward into other sovereign nations.

Critics, however, suspect that U.S. intelligence operatives fear bioweapons research facilities could fall into the wrong hands if Russia succeeds—endangering national security and creating an embarassing diplomatic event due to their own poor contingency planning.

Regardless, Boehner seemed to suggest that the war-hawks in Washington had the former “MAGA Mike” over a barrel when presenting him with an array of undesirable alternatives.

“All of a sudden, you have not just a responsibility to your district or to yourself,” said the former speaker. “You’ve got a team of members, and you’ve got what’s good in the long-term interest of the country involved as well. And I think he rose to the occasion.”

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