Editorial: Tiny speaker stands up: Mike Johnson finally aids Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

New York Daily News Editorial Board, New York Daily News on

Published in Op Eds

Louisianan Mike Johnson became House speaker by accident, when eight renegade Republicans voted with the Democrats to eject the unfortunate Kevin McCarthy from the chair in October. After a number of more senior members failed to win enough support, the booby prize went to Johnson.

Johnson has been an exceptionally weak speaker, and not just due to the narrowness of his majority. He gave in to the right-wing mob to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on fake charges and he jumped to obey Donald Trump’s reckless command to scuttle the Senate’s hard fought bipartisan measure on immigration reform. The amount of actual legislation passed by this Congress on behalf of the country is a record low.

But on Saturday, Johnson did right by America and right for the world in bringing to the floor several bills to provide desperately needed military aid to democratic allies in Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan under attack from the nasties of the globe: Russia, Iran and China.

Each aid package only passed on Democratic votes, as isolationist cranks in the GOP said no to all three measures.

To their credit, every Democrat backed the $8 billion for Taiwan and not a single Democrat voted against the $61 billion for Ukraine, as the pro-Putin caucus captured the party of Ronald Reagan with a majority of the Republicans saying no to Volodymyr Zelenskyy as he tries to fend off the Russians.

There is also a shamefully anti-Israel claque on the left of the Democratic Party (including New Yorkers Nydia Velázquez, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman) that rejected the $26 billion for Israel, which is fighting Hamas terrorists in Gaza and Iranian ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones.

But overall, there were large majorities for standing with our friends overseas under siege by Moscow, Tehran (and its Hamas and Hezbollah buds) and Beijing.


That all the bills relied on the Democrats and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries is a slight against Johnson within his party’s conference. He now has three crazies calling for him to resign or be tossed à la McCarthy. First in line is nutjob Marjorie Taylor Greene, who filed a motion to vacate the chair. Joining her was Thomas Massie and Paul Gosar, a pair of Grade-A kooks.

Johnson had 218 on his side for the Saturday roll calls compared with Jeffries’ having 213, but that GOP total immediately dropped by one when Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin resigned right afterwards. Gallagher was one of only three Republicans to vote against the terribly wrong impeachment of Mayorkas (another dissenter resigned a month ago).

And next week is a special election in Buffalo which should add one more Democrat, so the balance will be 217 to 214, making the Three Stooges of Greene, Massie and Gosar as kingmakers.

If they try another coup to topple another speaker, the Democrats will need to save Johnson. That will further weaken him within his own party and strengthen the GOP’s outer fringe, but the center can hold.

Johnson’s political career may not last past this year, but his short tenure will be remembered for when America came to the aid of Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. And that’s a lot more important than the fortunes of a congressman who no one had ever heard before October.


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