But Representative Johnson is facing scrutiny over his adopted Black son, Michael.
On the Republican’s official House website, his son is not included in the family picture. Johnson’s bio also neglects to give mention to his adoptive son, reading: “Mike and his wife Kelly, a former school teacher from Webster Parish and now a Licensed Pastoral Counselor, have been married since 1999 and have four children, Hannah, Abigail, Jack and Will. Today, they reside in Bossier Parish.”
Some have even questioned the veracity of Michael’s existence. Johnson’s office responded, telling Newsweek, “When Speaker Johnson first ran for Congress in 2016, he and his wife, Kelly, spoke to their son Michael—who they took in as newlyweds when Michael was 14 years old.”
“At the time of the Speaker’s election to Congress, Michael was an adult with a family of his own,” Corinne Day, Johnson’s communications director stated. “He asked not to be involved in their new public life. The Speaker has respected that sentiment throughout his career and maintains a close relationship with Michael to this day.”
Johnson claims he has tried to keep him away from the public sphere, “except when the Republican talks about race,” The New York Times reports.
In 2019, during his testimony against slavery reparations, Johnson said, “I have walked with him through discrimination that he has had to endure over the years and the hurdles he sometimes faced.” “I know all this because I was with him,” Johnson continued. He also revealed that his son was against reparations because it went against his beliefs around the “important tradition of self-reliance,” The Independent reports.
Johnson has even gone as far as to compare his experience to that of the rich white family who adopted a Black teen, whose story was depicted in the 2009 movie The Blind Side.
In the wake of the recent allegations against the Tuohy family, whether or not Johnson’s claims are similarly situated remain to be seen. But according to the Times, Michael has been unable to be reached to provide comments.
And four years later, it appears that the GOP congressman is somewhat rolling back with regard to his views on racial differences. He told Fox News, “Having raised two 14-year-old boys in America and the state of Louisiana, they had different experiences.” He doubled down during his conversation with Sean Hannity, stating “And I’m not so sure it was all about skin color, but it is about culture and society. Michael, our first, came from a really troubled background and had a lot of challenges.”
After Johnson was elected Speaker, the Congressional Black Caucus issued a statement, referring to him as “a Trump-backed extremist who wants to criminalize abortion and cut programs like Social Security and Medicare.”