House Speaker Mike Johnson Responds to New Round of Scrutiny About Black Son
Mike Johnson’s meteoric elevation from an under-the-radar congressman from Louisiana to second-in-line to the U.S. presidency sent journalists, Democrats and Republicans alike to uncover information about the personal and professional history of the most right-wing and least experienced House Speaker in history, who took the top job on Wednesday.
On the day Johnson was voted in, several major right-wing social media accounts on X, formerly known as Twitter, began circulating clips of anJohnson gave to PBS in 2020, in which he told journalist Walter Isaacson that the police killing of George Floyd was “an act of murder” and called for “systemic change.” Notably, Johnson said in the interview that he had learned about racism in America through the experience of raising a Black son, Michael.
Johnson said his Black son had a more difficult life than his white son “simply because of the color of his skin.” “Michael being a Black American, and Jack being white Caucasian. They have different challenges,” he said. “My son Jack has an easier path. He just does.”
Daily Wire podcaster Matt WalshJohnson’s comments as a “full-fledged endorsement of the Left’s racial narrative,” while far-right anti-Muslim activist Laura Loomer the new Speaker of being an “undercover Democrat.” Pro-DeSantis conservative influencer Pedro Gonzalez that Johnson had “completely internalized left-wing racial libel about white supremacy and privilege.”
Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshallon Friday that there were no photos of Michael on Johnson’s House website or his Facebook page. His son also does not appear in Johnson’s official biography.
Speculation about whether Michael was a real person prompted Johnson’s office to clarify. “When Speaker Johnson first ran for Congress in 2016, he and his wife, Kelly, spoke to their son Michael—who they took in as newlyweds when Michael was 14 years old,”Corinne Day, Johnson’s communications director, in a statement first reported by Newsweek. “At the time of the Speaker’s election to Congress, Michael was an adult with a family of his own. He asked not to be involved in their new public life.” Day added that Johnson “maintains a close relationship with Michael to this day.”
Day told Newsweek that the Johnson family did not formally adopt Michael because of the “lengthy … process,” and declined to say whether Michael used the same surname as the family.
Johnson’s Black son came up in 2019, when Johnson testified before a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee considering a resolution that would establish a commission to examine possible reparations proposals. In comments that drew boos from some in the hearing, Johnsonthat he had asked his son about the idea of reparations for slavery, and that his son said he opposed it.
In his first major interview after ascending to the top House job last week, Johnson appeared to downplay his previous comments about how racism affected Michael’s life. “Having raised two 14-year-old boys in America and the state of Louisiana, they had different experiences,” heFox News’ Sean Hannity. “And I’m not so sure it was all about skin color, but it is about culture and society. Michael, our first, came from a really troubled background and had a lot of challenges.”