New House Speaker Mike Johnson joined “Fox News Sunday,” talking with host Shannon Bream about issues including how the deeply conservative and religious representative approaches social issues — and the widespread scrutiny he’s faced over his beliefs.
Johnson has previously said that, if people want to know his worldview, they should go open up the Bible. Bream explained that this has concerned a lot of people, as have strong statements he’s made in the past opposing gay marriage and homosexuality while supporting conversion therapy. She also cited a recent guest essay in the New York Times about Johnson’s embodiment of white Christian nationalism.
“There are entire industries built on taking down, tearing down people like me,” Johnson said. “I understand that comes with a territory and we’re not fazed by it. But listen, what I believe in, are the founding principles of the country: individual freedom, limited government, the rule of law, peace through strength, fiscal responsibility, free markets, human dignity. Those are essential American principles.”
His wife has previously labeled Johnson’s rise to the speakership as “biblical.” Johnson dismissed others who’ve put labels on him.
“I’ve been labeled all kinds of stuff, but these people don’t know me. Look, my family, it’s no fun to be misquoted and maligned and mocked, of course, but we know that comes with a job,” Johnson said. “We’re going to continue to love all people. We’re going to continue to bless, even those who persecute us.”
Earlier in the conversation, he acknowledged the views that he comes into elected office with.
“I’m pro-life. I’ve said very clearly, I’m a Bible-believing Christian,” Johnson said. “I believe in the sanctity of every single human life. So I come to Congress with deep personally held convictions.”
He’s already faced warnings from members of his own party about not putting forward legislation on abortion. Johnson argued that having strong beliefs isn’t unique when it comes to Congress, as well as noting that pushing those religious values forward isn’t his lead priority.
“Guess what, my 434 other colleagues in the House, everyone comes to Congress with their deeply held convictions. But the process here is that you make law by consensus. And I’ve not brought forward any measure to address any of those issues,” Johnson said.
The new speaker has been a punching bag for late-night comedy hosts, such as John Oliver noting on “Last Week Tonight” how abhorrent many may find his positions. On Sunday’s show, Johnson laid out why he doesn’t think his religious faith should be such a big focus.
“Prior to the modern time, I mean, until recently, actually, almost all of our nation’s leaders openly acknowledged that they were also Bible-believing Christians. So I mean, this is not something that should cause great unrest,” Johnson said.
Bream pressed Johnson on how he would choose to vote on fertility treatments and access to contraception. He indicated he didn’t think he’d voted against either of those and that he would support access to fertility treatments.
“That’s something that’s blessed a lot of families who have problems with fertility, of course, that’s a great thing. I would support that,” Johnson said.
Johnson was also questioned about how the House is handling requests for aid for both Israel and Ukraine, which House Republicans have declined to move forward. There isn’t currently support in the Senate to move forward the House’s version of aid for Israel, which comes with cuts to the national budget alongside the funding. Johnson has noted that Republicans also want to pair support for Ukraine with additional funding for U.S. border security.