Salon Magazine: Mike Johnson, GOP Pose Greater Threat to Democracy than Osama Bin Laden

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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) shares Osama bin Laden’s radical “view,” is even more dangerous than the Islamic terrorist leader, and has a “far better shot than bin Laden ever did of ending American democracy,” according to a recent Salon piece that accuses the entire GOP of “attempting to finish the job bin Laden started by decimating our democracy.”

The Tuesday essay, titled “Worry less about TikTok and Bin Laden — fret more that Mike Johnson shares the terrorist’s view,” was penned by Salon Senior Writer Amanda Marcotte, who, earlier in November, accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of using Hamas’s massacre of Israeli civilians as a “pretext to unleash a nightmarish amount of violence on Palestinian citizens.”

The piece begins by claiming that suggestions of a recent growing TikTok trend of young Americans agreeing with al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden are misleading and part of a false “moral panic.”

Bin Laden, who masterminded the 9/11 attacks 22 years ago, directed the Islamic terrorists who crashed passenger jets into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon — with an additional plane crashing in rural Pennsylvania following a passenger revolt — and was responsible for the killing of nearly 3,000 Americans.

Amid the public debate on the Israel-Hamas war, a new generation of those mostly born after September 11, 2001, or too young to recall the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in U.S. history, were recently seen defending bin Laden for his opposition to America for its refusal to enforce Shariah law and for its support for Israel.

Though admitting videos of users praising the terror leader’s infamous letter to America “had gotten a solid number of views and comments,” the feminist writer claims it was only after critics “sent a huge amount of hate traffic towards them.”

“There are lots of problems with TikTok, for sure — it also has a serious disinformation problem — but no, there’s no real reason to believe it’s radicalizing the youth into sympathy with Islamic terrorists,” she writes.

However, she explains, the “much more serious story” of how House Speaker Mike Johnson “has a habit of expressing America-hating rhetoric that sounds like it could have come straight out of Osama bin Laden’s mouth” has yet to receive similar attention.

She cites Johnson’s appearance with a “rabidly homophobic” pastor, Jim Garlow, where he described the current culture as “so dark and depraved that it almost seems irredeemable” in response to the evangelical pastor’s question about judgment for collective sins.

“Johnson’s words echo those of bin Laden’s Letter to America,” she writes, quoting the terror leader. “We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling’s, and trading with interest.”

According to Marcotte, the “similarities” extend beyond the above:

Johnson, like bin Laden, rejects American secularism, saying it’s a “misnomer” to believe in the separation of church and state. His career has been devoted to forcing his brand of Christianity on all Americans, from taxpayer funding for exhibits that claim dinosaurs rode Noah’s ark to laws prohibiting sexual behavior that doesn’t adhere to his rigid fundamentalist rules. He repeatedly insists that, despite their words to the contrary, the Founding Fathers wanted religion to guide government policy. 

“The main difference of opinion between the two religious radicals is what flavor of far-right religious oppression they prefer: Christian or Muslim?” she adds.

While acknowledging that, unlike Johnson, bin Laden orchestrated the horrific September 11 attacks, she highlights how the Speaker has still sympathized with the “terrorist attack” on January 6.

“One can, of course, point out that bin Laden was a violent terrorist who funded a deadly attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, which Johnson has not done,” she writes. “But it’s also true that Johnson has signaled sympathy towards that other terrorist attack on American democracy, Donald Trump’s insurrection of January 6, 2021.”

Describing Johnson as a leader of “Trump’s coup effort,” she accuses his recent authorization of the release of security footage from the Capitol riot of being an effort to allow “MAGA propagandists” to “cherry-pick and distort the contents to create a false narrative valorizing the insurrectionists.”

Admitting that January 6 “wasn’t as deadly as September 11,” she insists that “it’s also true that Johnson has a far better shot than bin Laden ever did of ending American democracy and replacing it with a theocratic government.”

Citing Johnson’s critique of “depraved” American culture and his belief in divine intervention, as well as former President Donald Trump’s harsh rhetoric towards his opponents, the essay claims both are “highly reminiscent of how bin Laden talked about Americans as a dissolute people who ‘have continued to sink down this abyss from level to level until incest has spread amongst you.’” 

She also panned the media’s focus on “a few random attention-seekers on TikTok” over significant “commonalities” between bin Laden and Johnson, the latter of whom she describes as “a man who actually has the power to put his anti-American vision into action” and “wishes for an American apocalypse.” 

“It’s just much easier to sell a story about wayward youth than it is to explain why the nerdy-looking politician with the good hair is actually plotting our collective destruction,” she writes.

Warning that “far-right propaganda and disinformation, spread through social media, are undermining our democracy,” the radical feminist blogger asserts that the “biggest [and] most dangerous source of disinformation is not randos on TikTok” but rather “the same people we’ve been dealing with for years now: Trump and his right-wing acolytes like Johnson,” whom she accuses of “pumping out a steady stream of lies meant to destabilize American democracy so they can seize power.”

“Worse, they use official government powers, like the ability to hold House hearings or release security video footage, in order to do it,” she adds.

Marcotte concludes by reiterating that misguided youths “experimentally saying ignorant stuff” on TikTok is not a worthwhile story, as she accuses the Republican Party of continuing what bin Laden began.

“A few dumb kids experimentally saying ignorant stuff they soon regret is not a story,” she writes. “What does matter is that an entire political party, the GOP, is attempting to finish the job bin Laden started by decimating our democracy.”

Salon has a history of smearing Republicans and Christians.

Earlier in November, an essay in the progressive magazine deemed today’s Republicans, as well as Christian nationalism, a greater threat to the United States than the Hamas terrorist organization.

In March, a Salon piece insisted that Republicans were in the midst of waging a “fascist war” against freedom and democracy.

In 2022, an article in the progressive publication described the GOP as being a “de facto terrorist organization” as well as the “world’s largest white supremacist” group.

Previously, Salon published an interview in which “the Republican fascist movement” was referred to as “objectively evil,” and “white Christians” were accused of embracing lies, terrorism, white supremacy, and fascism.

Joshua Klein is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jklein@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.

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