Benedict Johnson sings the praises of Hakeem Jeffries: ‘We have a lot more in common than people might think’

Fresh off his leadership role saved with the help of Democrats, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) touched on where he and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) “kind of share…worldview.”

After weeks under the looming threat of a motion to vacate brought by Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R), that particular sword of Damocles was sheathed this week through a 359-43-7 motion to table the vote, sparing Johnson the ousting fate of his predecessor. No sooner had a considerable majority of Democrats joined the vast majority of Republicans in leaving the gavel where it was, than the speaker was singing the praises of his rival and where they “have a lot in common.”

“Have you gotten to know Jeffries as a brother in Christ?” came the question on the Democrat leader as Johnson sat down with Politico’s “Deep Dive” podcast shortly after Greene’s motion to vacate was tabled.

“I have. Hakeem is a good man. We’ve worked well together. We have a lot more in common than people might think,” said the speaker. “You know, he’s from New York and I’m from Louisiana. While we have lots of disagreements on policies and the fine points of policy, I think you can appreciate people for who they are as a person.”

“I think that’s what we’re called to do,” expressed Johnson. “And he and I both kind of share the worldview on that.”

“I can appreciate that he’s a good family man. We have a lot in common in that regard. And he lost his father recently, I lost mine three days before I got elected to Congress. We’ve talked about that,” he continued before comparing the roundabout way they both attained leadership roles and heaping on more praise.

“And I think what we’ve appreciated about one another is that I believe that when Hakeem Jeffries is telling me something, I believe he’s telling me the truth. I believe he is a man of his word,” argued the Louisiana lawmaker. “And I think he believes that about me as well. That’s a big thing in Washington. You know, trust is a rare commodity around here.”

The truth that Jeffries recently stated was that, by his own assessment, “Even though we’re in the minority, we effectively have been governing as if we were in the majority because we continue to provide a majority of the votes necessary to get things done. Those are just the facts.”

By contrast, during his recent discussion with Politico, once-speaker and former California Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) had taken a shot at Johnson’s acquiescence to the left and said, “Should I have done a deal? I couldn’t live with myself if I did a deal with the Democrats.”

Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump, who hosted Johnson at a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser over the weekend before the vote along with a slew of GOP figures in talks as potential running mates, maintained a vote of confidence for the current speaker.

In a Truth Social message that shared favor for both the speaker and Greene, Trump had said in part, “Mike Johnson is a good man who is trying very hard. I also wish certain things were done over the last period of two months, but we will get them done, together. It is my request that Republicans vote for ‘THE MOTION TO TABLE.’ We WILL WIN BIG — AND IT WILL BE SOON!”

“While we don’t agree on many things,” Johnson had added in his interview, “it’s really refreshing to sit across the table from someone who is your political adversary and know that they’re shooting straight.”

Kevin Haggerty

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