Trump attempts to mend riff between MTG and Speaker Johnson

Plus, an update on the rise of Christian Nationalism.

Top Headlines

After Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called for the ousting of House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), former President Donald Trump reiterated his support for Johnson during a Friday press conference at Mar-a-Lago. 

Last week, Greene wrote a letter to her colleagues encouraging them to consider a snap vote that could remove Johnson from the Speakership, a threat she has made in the past.

The GOP presidential nominee seemed eager to bridge the gap between the Johnson, who is now being painted by right-wing media as acquiescing to Democratic efforts to keep the federal government funded in early 2024, and the Greene, one of the more vocal MAGA Congressmembers. 

Johnson has also caught criticism for his handling of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reauthorization, a national security policy which Trump has voiced opposition to in the past. Johnson struck down an amendment to FISA which would have required the FBI and other domestic intelligence agencies to acquire a warrant before digging through the FISA system, which contains troves of personal data on American citizens. 

And this week, Johnson will be tasked with handling calls by the White House to pass a bill that would expand security assistance spending to Israel and Ukraine — the latter of which has been a source of consternation for Republicans. 

“We’re getting along very well with the speaker, and I get along very well with Marjorie. We have a speaker who was voted in, and it was a complicated process. And I think very — it’s not an easy situation for any speaker,” Trump said with Johnson by his side. “I think he’s doing a very good job, about as good as you’re going to do. I’m sure that Marjorie understands that. She’s a very good friend of mine and I know she has a lot of respect for the speaker.”

Such fracturing of the Trumpist right within Congress can only hurt Republicans as the 2024 election comes into view. And Trump insiders understand this. 

“One hundred percent distraction. Unwanted. And just stupid,” a source close to Trump was quoted as saying. 

“The internal fighting is not appreciated by [Trump],” another anonymous source added.

Eyes on the Right

Former Trump national security advisor turned full-time conservative influencer Michael Flynn recently espoused Christian nationalist ideals on a far-right radio show. 

Flynn, who transitioned from being a highly-decorated general to proselytizing election denial and QAnon conspiracy theories, has become an ardent supporter of the Christian nationalist movement — which seeks to supplant our current form of government in favor of a theocratic system where law is grounded in Christian “teachings.” 

In an interview on the “Patriot Radio” show, Flynn argued that this interpretation is in line with the civic history of America’s founding. 

“There’s five parts in the First Amendment,” Flynn said. “And the very first part — which I know because I’ve read the Federalist Papers and I’ve read the writings of our founders — of those five parts in the First Amendment, 1.1 is the freedom of religion.”

“They argued about that because they wanted to make sure that there was always a connection between what we know is in our Declaration of Independence: The idea of the Creator,” Flynn explained.

He then argued that the word “creator” and other similar terms in the Declaration of Independence means it is a religious text.

“That word is in the Declaration four times; actually five if you include the word ‘Lord,’ because it’s signed ‘in the day of our Lord’ in the year that it was signed,” Flynn said. “Our founders wanted a constant connection between the founding Judeo-Christian principles and values that our country was formed upon.”

Such perspectives have become a mainstay on the Right in recent years — despite a growing increase in secularization throughout the broader populace. New polling by the Pew Research Center found that 49% of US adults believe that “the Bible should have ‘a great deal’ (23%) or ‘some’ influence (26%)” on the crafting of laws and legislation. 

Additionally, “28% who say that if the Bible conflicts with the will of the people, the Bible should have more sway.” 

Trump’s allies have read these tea leaves and responded accordingly: A second Trump presidency could see a much larger emphasis placed on “[infusing] Christian nationalist ideas in his administration.” 

Subscribe to The Lede

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson