By the time he was 27 years old, Mike Johnson had not only tied the knot with his bride Kelly—a particularly tight knot called a "covenant marriage."
He had also become a new Dad to a 14-year-old Black "son."
How did that happen, you ask?
It was quite simple, actually.
He just “took custody."
That's how they do things in Louisiana, I guess.
You meet a kid at an "evangelical youth group," take him home. And then he's yours.
As his Communications Director admitted this week, Johnson didn't bother going through a "lengthy adoption process."
Maybe Johnson thinks The Bible allows it.
What's wrong with this picture?
The news that America's new 51-year-old white Christian Nationalist Speaker has a 38-year-old Black son was a surprise to many people, especially those unable to find Johnson's eldest "son" Michael in any of the family photos Speaker Johnson has used since he entered MAGA politics in 2016.
As Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall noted:
No African-American son shows up in any of the family photographs on Johnson’s House website or on his personal Facebook page. Nor does Michael figure anywhere in any of Johnson’s campaign biographies.
Johnson claims the reason he omitted the fact he brought a Black boy home from his evangelical youth group—and decided to keep him—from his political bio is to respect his now-grown son's privacy.
But in true Matt Gaetz fashion, Johnson trots out the tale of the son he adopted without any paperwork whenever it is politically convenient.
Johnson spoke about Michael in 2019, during a Juneteenth hearing on slave reparations, when he said that both he and his Black son, then 36, opposed the idea. That time Michael Sr. got booed.
Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Johnson again had no concerns about his "adopted" son's privacy in this lengthy interview with Walter Isaacson.
Then in an April 2022 episode of his husband-and-wife podcast "Truth Be Told with Mike and Kelly Johnson," Johnson used the same carefully scripted language he had used with Isaacson in 2020:
We took custody of a young Black kid... Michael. He's our son. I met him through the Young Life Ministry. It's a very long story. I won't go into it today...
You've seen the movie The Blind Side. That is our story, except my kid was not an NFL prospect... This was before we started having our biological children... Michael often says 'if Mike and Kelly had not intervened in my life when I was 14 years old... I would have wound up in the gang, on drugs or probably dead somewhere on the street'...
The point is, he's just as talented, smart and gifted as my oldest son, Jack. The only difference is they have different skin color.
The way he tells it, Johnson's "adoption" of Michael is a heartwarming story, the kind you'd see in a Hollywood movie.
But even though Johnson now tells a tightly scripted tale, the chronology hasn't always been airtight.
In the version he told back in 2019—just a few weeks after celebrating the 20th anniversary of his sacred covenant marriage (a fact you'd think he'd remember)—Johnson claimed he had "adopted" 14-year-old Michael "twenty-two years" earlier.
As one Twitter user pointed out:
The Johnsons plural didn’t take custody of a 14 yr old Black child in 1997 - because Mike met Kelly in 1998 & married her in 1999.
Mike Johnson was a single 25 yr old law student when he formed whatever relationship he had with 14 yr old ‘Michael’.
Maybe that was just an slip of the tongue. But even so, the actual circumstances of the "adoption" would still need a rewrite before this movie gets a greenlight.
With a link to the Wikipedia page of the Young Life Ministry, the same Twitter user notes:
“Young Life” where Mike Johnson met 14 yr old adoptee Michael is an Evangelical organization targeting high school age kids. Anti LGBTQ. Not an adoption organization.
Something fishy's going on here.
At the very least, if news broke that Hunter Biden had "adopted" a 14-year-old Black boy without any paperwork 25 years ago, I doubt that he would have gotten a kid-gloves interview with Sean Hannity to discuss how the Bible shapes his entire worldview.
The weird and warped worldview of America's new Speaker
In true Christo-Fascist MAGA fashion, Mike Johnson's allegiance is not to America or its people—but to Trump and the destruction of democracy.
He's pro-gun, anti-woman.
He opposes same-sex marriage because he thinks it will lead to people marrying their pets.
He thinks "homosexuals do not meet the criteria for... equal protection... as all are capable of changing their abnormal lifestyles."
Even setting aside this weird fake adoption story, the facts that emerged this week about Speaker Mike Johnson's warped Biblical views should be highly alarming to most Americans.
By cherry-picking the worst parts of the Republican Bible, it's Johnson who has made an "abnormal lifestyle" choice—opting to become a self-serving bigot who promotes hate for political gain instead of embracing Jesus's most important command: to love.
NOTE: I've updated this story to reflect that Mike Johnson was 27 (not 25) in 1999, the year he got married and now claims to have adopted Michael. In his original telling of the story in 2019, he claimed to have adopted Michael "twenty-two-years" earlier, when he would have been 25 and single.
11/5/23 UPDATE: Mike Johnson hasn't been straight with us.
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