By Rian Nelson
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, who has endorsed Trump for the 2024 election, met with the former President recently at Mar-a-Lago Estate. The Republican from Louisiana was attending a fundraiser for fellow GOP representative Gus Bilirakis. It is unclear what was discussed at the meeting, but it marks the first time the men have met since Johnson gained Speakership.
The meeting follows a CNBC interview last week where Johnson said he is “all in for President Trump.” He picked Trump not because of personalities, but of pure politics. Speaker Johnson has not always supported President Trump. New York Times found a 2015 post-presidential debate Facebook post where he lambasted the then first time candidate. In the post, he contrasted Trump’s controversial talking points to the “noble and selfless noble, selfless characters of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln or Reagan.” He said of Trump, “[he] lacks the character and the moral center we desperately need again in the White House.” The then-Louisiana state lawmaker also responded to comments on the post saying, “I am afraid he would break more things than he fixes,” even pondering what would happen should “he decided to bomb another head of state merely disrespecting him.”
After Trump was elected in 2016, Speaker Johnson joined fellow Republicans in supporting the President. He backpedaled on his 2015 comments when questioned, saying to the New York Times, “During his 2016 campaign, President Trump quickly won me and millions of my fellow Republicans over. When I got to know him personally shortly after we both arrived in Washington in 2017, I grew to appreciate the person that he is and the qualities about him that made him the extraordinary president that he was.” Speaker Johnson even signed the legal brief seeking a lawsuit to overturn the result of the 2020 election due to alleged voter fraud.
Johnson hopes to gain support from the far-right Republicans who lead the ousting of his predecessor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Johnson is the highest-ranking Republican to endorse the former president.