Public Domain | Inset: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

House Speaker Mike Johnson recently affirmed at a press conference that President Joe Biden’s election as president “must’ve been God’s will.” Johnson was speaking at a weekly press conference when the question came up from the press. “I know where you’re going with this,” he responded. Johnson affirmed his position on God’s absolute authority, saying, “I said in my speech before I took the gavel that, look, I’m a Bible-believing Christian, right? A Bible-believing Christian believes what the Bible says, right? The Bible says that God is the one who raises up people in authority.” He stated his beliefs were consistent with those of the founding fathers, who affirmed that rights come from God. “Everybody’s made the same. We all are given equal rights and value, and that’s something that we defend,” he said. Based on those beliefs, Johnson said, “[Biden’s election] must’ve been God’s will then. That’s my belief.” The Speaker did add, however, that he believes that God grants free will and that “we’re gonna make a much better choice as a country coming up in this election cycle. We’re very much looking forward to that regime change.”

President Trump’s former White House aide, Steve Bannon, blasted Johnson’s comments. After playing a clip of the Speaker’s response on his show “War Room,” Bannon griped, “Yo, dude, he’s an illegitimate president. Have you lost your freaking mind? This election was stolen.” He then complained that Johnson shouldn’t “be a theologian.” “I don’t need a theologian. He is the Speaker of the House. That’s what the country needs. Joe Biden’s not a legitimate president of the United States. No to the Speaker. So no, God did not raise him up.” Bannon has been a vocal supporter of President Trump, despite leaving the administration in 2017 for reported clashes, and has stood by the former president’s claims of the 2020 election being stolen. 

Johnson, too, has faced scrutiny for being one of the 147 GOP members who refused to certify the 2020 election. He also supported members of the GOP signing an amicus brief for a Texas lawsuit that questioned the 2020 election results. In an interview with Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation,” Johnson denied characterizations of himself as an “election denier.” He did, however, assert his belief that the Constitution was violated in order to make President Biden’s win possible. “The Constitution was violated in the run-up to the 2020 election, not always in bad faith, but in the aftermath of Covid, many states changed their election laws in ways that violated that plain language. That’s just a fact,” he said. He stated, however, that the situation was now “water under the bridge.” He also dismissed criticisms from former representative Liz Cheney, who stated Johnson used the amicus brief as a “bait and switch.” He alleged that Cheney herself had considered signing the brief. “But I’m telling you that the plain language of the Constitution has never changed. And what happened in many states by changing the election laws without ratification by the state legislatures is a violation of the Constitution. … That’s a plain fact that no one can dispute,” he asserted. 

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