Newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson made his way to Mar-a-Lago on Monday to kiss the ring of his party's de facto leader, Donald Trump.
The Louisiana Republican met with Trump at Trump's palatial Florida estate nearly a week after announcing his endorsement for the twice-impeached, criminally indicted former president, reported NBC News, citing two sources familiar with the meeting.
Congressional party leaders don't typically endorse a presidential candidate until their party chooses a presumptive nominee later in the election cycle. But Trump's anti-democratic demands for loyalty — and the consequences for Republicans who fail to do so — likely motivated Johnson to make the bootlicking pilgrimage.
And yet, Johnson wasn't always head over heels for Mr. MAGA. The New York Times reported last week that Johnson trashed Trump in a lengthy Facebook post in 2015. Johnson, then a state lawmaker, called Trump a "hot head by nature, and that is a dangerous trait to have in a Commander in Chief.”
“The thing about Donald Trump is that he lacks the character and the moral center we desperately need again in the White House,” Johnson wrote. He said in the comments of his post that he's "afraid he [Trump] would break more things than he fixes."
Johnson explained his about-face on Trump in a statement to the Times in which he gushed over their "very good" relationship:
During his 2016 campaign, President Trump quickly won me and millions of my fellow Republicans over. When I got to know him personally shortly after we both arrived in Washington in 2017, I grew to appreciate the person that he is and the qualities about him that made him the extraordinary president that he was.