In 2015, Johnson Said Trump Was Unfit to Be President

This week, House speaker is 'all in' on the former president's 2024 run, 'wholeheartedly' endorsing him
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2023 9:30 AM CST
In 2015, Johnson Said Trump Was Unfit to Be President
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Mike Johnson appeared on CNBC earlier this week, noting he expected former President Trump to become the GOP's nominee for 2024, endorsing him "wholeheartedly." "I was one of the closest allies that President Trump had in Congress," Johnson said. "He had a phenomenal first term ... His policies worked. I'm all in for President Trump." But before Johnson was speaker of the House—even before he was in Congress—the Louisiana Republican had a very different take on the former president. "The thing about Donald Trump is that he lacks the character and the moral center we desperately need again in the White House," Johnson, a state lawmaker at the time, wrote in an August 2015 Facebook post, per the New York Times.

When someone in the comments took issue with that stance, Johnson replied, "I am afraid he would break more things than he fixes. He is a hot head by nature, and that is a dangerous trait to have in a Commander in Chief." Johnson also referenced the possibility of Trump bombing "another head of state [for] merely disrespecting him." "I am only halfway kidding about this," Johnson warned. "I just don't think he has the demeanor to be President." HuffPost reports that Johnson has since deleted that post and its accompanying comments.

The Times—which notes Johnson had been a chief advocate for Trump in challenging the 2020 election results, and that Johnson has said the multiple indictments against Trump are "bogus"—caught up with the House speaker this week to get his take on his past remarks. In a statement, Johnson, who now describes his relationship with the former president as "very good and friendly," explained that he simply hadn't known Trump well eight years ago, and that Trump had a style "very different than mine." After getting to know Trump following his 2016 election win, Johnson noted, "I grew to appreciate the person that he is and the qualities about him that made him the extraordinary president that he was." (More Mike Johnson stories.)

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