Mike Johnson’s Home State Newspaper Scolds ‘Flip-Flop’ on Border Concerns


House Speaker Mike Johnson is being called out by his hometown newspaper for “flip-flopping” on legislation related to the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Louisiana Republican, who replaced Kevin McCarthy in October, has received scrutiny from a number of his conservative colleagues for negotiating a temporary deal to continue to fund the government, in addition to having to lead a conference that has largely frowned on additional funding for Ukraine in light of the situation at the southern border.

He has gained support recently by vowing that bipartisan legislation drafted in the Senate would be “dead on arrival” in the House if it doesn’t go far enough in addressing a litany of purported shortcomings in current immigration law.

“We agree with the assessment of U.S. Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, a conservative Republican who has blasted his House colleagues for their flip-flop and who blames election-year politics,” reads an editorial in The Advocate, Louisiana’s largest newspaper, based in Baton Rouge. “Apparently driving the House resistance is that former president and likely GOP nominee Donald Trump is trashing the deal.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks at a roundtable on the southern border at the U.S. Capitol on January 31, 2024, in Washington, D.C. His home state newspaper, “The Advocate,” published an editorial saying Johnson is…

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Johnson has expressed his position to President Joe Biden and Democrats, as the Biden administration has found itself in a feud with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Republican officials across the nation.

For months, Abbott has feuded with the federal government over the record levels of migrants crossing the border from Mexico. In December, about 300,000 migrants—nearly 10,000 per day—came into the U.S. through Mexico, including about 250,000 between ports of entry, according to Customs and Border Protection data. The same month, there were 155,789 migrant encounters in Texas.

Federal border agents encountered about 2.5 million migrants in total last year, surpassing the previous record high from a year earlier, the CBP said.

Abbott has made the issue a national one since 2022, when he began sending buses of migrants to Democratic-led “sanctuary cities” that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Lankford and other Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Utah Senator Mitt Romney, have received criticism from conservatives, including Donald Trump Jr., who claim that amnesty for migrants is a vital part of the negotiations.

There has been speculation that former President Donald Trump has attempted to halt or stunt border-related legislation to benefit his own political viability in November, as immigration has galvanized Republicans and become a major wedge issue.

Johnson was asked by CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju if he had either spoken to Trump or is helping his campaign by floating the idea of killing Senate-backed legislation. The speaker responded: “No, Manu, that’s absurd.”

The Advocate hasn’t found Johnson’s reasoning convincing.

“Johnson denies he’s following Trump’s lead, but we can only conclude that Trump is more interested in having a crisis to exploit than a solution achieved on his opponent’s watch,” the editorial continues. “As irresponsible as that is, Trump currently plays no official policy role. Johnson does.

“We’re disappointed to see him go down that path and urge him to reconsider.”