Dems Turn Mike Johnson’s First Viral Moment Into Anti-GOP Ad

Win McNamee/Getty
Win McNamee/Getty

When House Republicans held an impromptu press conference late Tuesday night to celebrate coalescing around their new speaker nominee, they were in no mood to answer tough questions—or even the obvious one.

So when ABC reporter Rachel Scott asked Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA)—the speaker nominee who has now been elevated to the speakership—about his leading efforts to overturn the 2020 election, Republicans were having none of it.

They drowned out the reporter with boos. Johnson said “next question.” And Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) told the reporter to “shut up!”

Now, a D.C.-based advocacy group, Courage For America, is seizing on the moment to attack Republicans and quickly define the new speaker.

The non-profit group is launching an ad series Wednesday night targeting New York Republicans with the viral moment. The ad will run against New York Republican Reps. Nick LaLota, Andrew Garbarino, George Santos, Anthony D’Esposito, Nicole Malliotakis, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Elise Stefanik, Brandon Williams, Nick Langworthy, and Claudia Tenney.

While they’re only initially throwing $20,000 behind the ad, the viral moment will quickly become a testing ground for the line of attack—and more could be coming.

For Democrats, highlighting the GOP’s MAGA policies has proven a winning election strategy. The party capitalized on Republican extremism and the chaos of Jan. 6 during the 2022 midterm elections when the Democrats overperformed expectations. President Joe Biden has made the insurrection and the GOP’s election denial a cornerstone of his re-election campaign.

Just as Trump’s celebratory Rose Garden event after House Republicans passed a health care bill undermining protections for people with pre-existing conditions became a rallying cry for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats are hoping this moment—showing a predominantly white GOP caucus shouting down questions about the efforts to overturn the 2020 election—will come to define the GOP in 2024.

“Congressman Mike Johnson is a tried and true MAGA extremist and election denier who helped lead the charge to overturn the 2020 election results. He has no business being Speaker,” said José Morales Jr., a spokesperson for Courage for America.

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