It took a few weeks, but Republicans got their act together and did the impossible: elected a new speaker of the House, Louisiana’s Mike Johnson.
Johnson and his team have an incredible amount of work ahead of them — from funding the government to fundraising for House Republicans. What’s particularly noteworthy to me in the hours ahead of Johnson becoming speaker is the all-out effort Democrats and their media mouthpieces are making to define him — mostly by spreading provable misinformation.
Johnson’s Democratic counterparts on the Judiciary Committee immediately lashed out at him for being a member of the Freedom Caucus, which is an outright lie. Although a Wikipedia page for the Freedom Caucus erroneously listed Johnson as a member earlier today, he is not a part of the group.
Meanwhile, the Democrats’ mouthpieces in the Capitol Hill press corps peppered Johnson with questions about the past, focusing on his role in pushing for a lawsuit to delay counting some electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election pending an investigation into alleged voter fraud. Corporate media outlets have used Johnson’s desire for an investigation as proof that he was trying to “overturn” the election.
It’s fair game to ask about 2020, but it strikes me as astonishingly dishonest that none of the journalists who seem to care have ever asked Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries about his far more extensive history of election denial.
Johnson has a massive mandate from Republicans to get their caucus moving again, but he’s going to face the same obstacle Republicans in DC have had since time immemorial: a press corps so overtly biased towards Democrats that they’ll make it as difficult as possible for him to get his message to Americans across the country.
On our radar
SORRY MS. JACKSON-LEE Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee issued a statement expressing regret for a leaked audio clip in which she berates and curses out staffers. In typical bad boss form, Jackson-Lee blamed her “passion” and expectation of “excellence” for her expletive-laden rant.
CLINTON ACCUSED OF ‘WARMONGERING’ Hillary Clinton was heckled on stage at a Columbia University event on Tuesday by an audience member who asked her to denounce President Joe Biden’s “World War Three” speech calling for bundled military aid for Israel, Taiwan and Ukraine. Clinton did not condemn the speech and demanded the protester “sit down!”
CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE A new Gallup poll found that a record high 39 percent of Americans have no trust at all in mass media. Perhaps even more shocking, one-third of Republicans and one-fifth of Democrats say “patriots may have to resort to violence” in order to save the country.
KJP’s clean-up job
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre came under fire this week for her horrific response to concerns about rising anti-Semitism following Hamas’s attack on Israel. When, during an official press briefing, she was asked about antisemitism, Jean-Pierre pivoted to talk about hate crimes against Muslims:
Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks, and certainly President Biden understands that many of our Muslim, Arab, Arab American and Palestinian American loved ones and neighbors are worried about the hate being directed at their communities and that is something you heard the president speak to in his address just last Thursday.
Following backlash, Jean-Pierre attempted to rectify the situation. She first tweeted a statement condemning antisemitism and then asserted at the podium Tuesday that she wanted to clarify her previous remarks.
“I understand how important moral clarity is especially at this time. So when Jews are targeted because of their beliefs or their identity, when Israel is singled out because of anti-Jewish hatred, that is antisemitism and that is unacceptable. There is no place for antisemitism. Full stop,” she said.
As to how she got it so wrong the first time, Jean-Pierre claims that she “misheard” the question.
Guilty in Georgia
Attorney Jenna Ellis, a former legal advisor to Donald Trump’s 2020 election campaign, pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings on Tuesday morning. Ellis is the fourth Trump co-defendant to reach a plea deal in the Georgia election case. In September, Atlanta bail bondsperson Scott Hall pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with the performance of election duties. Former Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro each pleaded guilty to conspiracy last week, just days before their scheduled joint trail. As part of the deal, Ellis will serve five years of probation, pay $5,000 in restitution to the Georgia secretary of state and complete 100 hours of community service. She will also have to write a letter of apology to the state of Georgia.
– Michael Bachmann