Mike Johnson wrote intro for book with Pizzagate conspiracies and homophobic attacks on Pete Buttigieg

Spokesperson says speaker denies reading offending passages of book

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Saturday 02 December 2023 22:33 GMT
Related video: Mike Johnson discusses monitoring his son’s online usage

Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson wrote the introduction to a 2022 book that included baseless debunked conspiracy theories as well as homophobic slurs.

In addition to writing the foreword, the Louisiana lawmaker actively promoted the book by Scott McKay, a politics blogger, CNN reported.

Indeed, the speaker pushed the book on social media and dedicated an episode of his podcast to it.

The Revivalist Manifesto includes conspiracies often championed by the far-right, including the infamous discredited “Pizzagate” hoax concerning a high-ranking paedophile ring in Washington DC, and the unfounded conspiracy that the Democratic National Committee’s emails were not hacked in 2016 but leaked by a staffer named Seth Rich.

Mr Rich’s parents settled a lawsuit with Fox News over a story connecting the murder of their son to such right-wing conspiracies.

The book further claims Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was blackmailed in connection with the late sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein; defends podcaster Joe Rogan from racism charges about the use of the N-word, that he apologised for; and says poor voters were “unsophisticated and susceptible to government dependency” adding that they were easy to manipulate with “Black Lives Matter ‘defund the police’ pandering”.

The book also repeatedly disparages former presidential candidate and now-Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg with homophobic language.

The former mayor is referred to as a “queer choice” for the Biden Cabinet and the author writes that he had “queer sanctimony” and was “openly, and obnoxiously, gay”. In one passage he is simply called “Gay Mayor Pete Buttigieg”.

Rep Johnson’s views on homosexuality are no secret and he has even written about criminalising it, called it “dangerous” and “inherently unnatural”, and partly blamed it for the collapse of the Roman Empire. His wife removed a website for her company the day after a report revealed that documents posted there compared homosexuality to bestiality and incest.

Secretary Buttigieg is not alone in being slurred in the book. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is called “half oppressed” because her mother is Native American and her father is of Norwegian descent.

Former president Barack Obama’s “chief selling point was that he was black” one section states, while the late Arizona senator John McCain, a moderate Republican and foe of former president Donald Trump, is said to have used his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam “as a political get-out-of-jail-free card”.

During his podcast promoting the book, Rep Johnson referred to the author as a “dear friend” and said: ​​“I obviously believe in the product, or I wouldn’t have written the foreword. So I endorse the work.”

Since his sudden rise to the speakership following the ousting of Rep Kevin McCarthy and the failure of other more prominent members of the party to garner enough support, Mr Johnson’s beliefs have come under increased scrutiny.

A spokesperson for the speaker told CNN: “The Speaker had never read the passages highlighted in the CNN story which he strongly disagrees with. He wrote the foreword as a favour to a friend, supportive of the general theme of the book but not as an endorsement of all the opinions expressed.”

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