NYT’s Annie Karni Pouts Over Speaker Johnson Doing ‘What Passes for Brave in Today’s GOP’

News & Politics

Congressional correspondent Annie Karni got snarky against Republicans (and, perhaps, some of her fellow reporters?) in Sunday’s New York Times, after House Speaker Mike Johnson received some backhanded praise from some quarters of the media/Democratic alliance for pushing a military aid bill for Ukraine through: “Mike Johnson, Like Pence, Does What Passes for Brave in Today’s GOP: His Job.”

The accolades directed at Speaker Mike Johnson in recent days for finally defying the right wing of his party and allowing an aid bill for Ukraine to move through the House might have seemed a tad excessive.

After all, a speaker’s entire job is to move legislation through the House, and as Saturday’s vote to pass the bill demonstrated, the Ukraine measure had overwhelming support. But Mr. Johnson’s feat was not so different from that of another embattled Republican who faced a difficult choice under immense pressure from hard-right Republicans and was saluted as a hero for simply doing his job: former Vice President Mike Pence.

When Mr. Pence refused former President Donald J. Trump’s demands that he overturn the 2020 election results as he presided over the electoral vote count by Congress on Jan. 6, 2021 — even as an angry mob with baseball bats and pepper spray invaded the Capitol and chanted “hang Mike Pence” — the normally unremarkable act of performing the duties in a vice president’s job description was hailed as courageous.

Mr. Pence and now Mr. Johnson represent the most high-profile examples of a stark political reality: In today’s Republican Party, subsumed by Mr. Trump, taking the norm-preserving, consensus-driven path can spell the end of your political career.

Karni brought her paper’s hostile labeling pattern with her.

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Pence, both mild-mannered, extremely conservative evangelical Christians who have put their faith at the center of their politics, occupy a similar space in their party. They have both gone through contortions to accommodate Mr. Trump and the forces he unleashed in their party, which in turn have ultimately come after them….Mr. Pence has been offering Mr. Johnson private encouragement in recent weeks, as he faced growing discontent from the far right.

Karni saved space for Ukraine president and media hero Zelensky praising Johnson “for the decision that keeps history on the right track,” but instantly pivoted with “Not everyone was eager to pile on the kudos,” citing a Democrat who aired criticism precisely like Karni’s.

“I’m so glad Republicans finally realize the gravity of the situation and the urgency with which we must act,” Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, said on Friday as the House was about to take a vote to clear the way for the bill. “But you don’t get an award around here for doing your damn job.”

Karni got the scoop from The View’s allegedly Republican co-host.

Alyssa Farah Griffin, a former top aide in the Trump administration, was lukewarm, at best, in her praise for Mr. Johnson, who she noted had dithered for months before moving ahead on Ukraine aid, even though it was clear there was a broad consensus that the aid was critical.

“It’s remarkable that this is being viewed as a brave or heroic move — simply putting a bill on the House floor for a vote that has bipartisan support to pass,” she said. “In the period of time that Johnson waffled over whether to even allow a vote on it or not, Ukraine lost ground and Ukrainians were killed by Russians.”

Alyssa Farah served with Trump for almost his entire term, and then quickly became a high-paid host on The View. Why is she the “bravery” judge? But the Times just did a puff piece on her. 

Even after Johnson did what the Democrats (who waved Ukrainian flags on the House floor) wanted, Karni didn’t pause from her petulance.

Even after his impassioned comments, he hesitated before releasing the text of the bills, prompting Democrats to worry that his indecision and desire to appeal to the far right would again win out.

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