CNN anchor declares that new Republican Speaker Mike Johnson has no “personal baggage”

John Knefel wrote earlier today about how mainstream news outlets are downplaying or outright ignoring the extremist history of the new speaker of the house, Rep. Mike Johnson:

Johnson is a four-term representative and constitutional lawyer who worked to overturn the results of the 2020 election by leading an amicus brief in a Texas lawsuit that would have delayed the electoral vote in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He also voted not to certify the election results in Congress.

Johnson has a long history of anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion extremism, including working as senior legal counsel for the extreme anti-LGBTQ legal group Alliance Defending Freedom. (The group was formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund.) 

Since entering Congress, Johnson has introduced a federal version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which would eliminate federal funding for libraries, schools, and other organizations that discussed aspects of gay and trans identities. In July, he argued against parents having access to gender-affirming care for their children, falsely claiming it constituted “abuse and physical harm.” As a member of the Louisiana legislature, he introduced a bill that could have permitted de facto discrimination against gay couples, including allowing landlords to deny rental applications or employers to fire someone in a same-sex relationship. A recent CNN report reveals that Johnson wrote op-eds in which he called homosexuality a “inherently unnatural” and “dangerous lifestyle,” and called for the criminalization of gay sex.

Johnson has also co-sponsored a bill that would ban abortion nationwide and sued Kentucky for religious discrimination on behalf of Ark Encounter, a creationist theme park. But major U.S. news outlets largely ignored Johnson’s record of anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion positions following his nomination as the GOP House speaker-designate.

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Citation From CNN coverage on October 25, 2023

DANA BASH (CNN ANCHOR): But just starting out again, because we're going to be learning a lot about this man who is heading towards not only getting the gavel, but being second in line for the president of the United States, because this is obviously a constitutional position. The fact that he didn't have baggage in this climate was the plus –

REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): I think it was really –

BASH: Personal baggage.