Far-right Republicans are now calling Mike Johnson “woke” over LGBTQ+ military provisions

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson Photo: Shutterstock

The House Freedom Caucus – a collection of reactionary extremists in the House that includes Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), and Jim Jordan (R-OH) – is now complaining that Speaker Mike Johnson isn’t far enough to the right and is claiming he is trying to pass a “woke” agenda.

Their complaint? He’s trying to get funding for the military and he’s willing to drop anti-LGBTQ+ (and several other far-right) provisions from the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in order to get a deal with the Democratic Senate that the Democratic president would be willing to sign.

“This is an obvious play to end-run conservative objections and pass liberal ‘woke’ military policy with the help of House Democrats — a page ripped from the Boehner playbook,” they wrote in a memo, which calls the NDAA “an utter disaster for House Republicans and a massive unforced error from leadership.”

Axios notes that the Freedom Caucus was key in getting former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to step down in 2015 because they disliked how he was sometimes willing to work with Democrats and then-President Barack Obama.

Johnson, of course, is anything but “woke.” He has called homosexuality “same-sex deviate sexual intercourse,” climate change a “guise to usher in the principles of socialism,” abortion “an American Holocaust,” and government itself a “design of God” and “a gift to mankind in a fallen society.”

The NDAA is one of several large spending bills that Congress was supposed to pass this year to keep the federal government funded. House Republicans used their slim majority to fill the NDAA and the other bills with anti-LGBTQ+, anti-abortion, and other far-right provisions.

Since the Senate has a Democratic majority and the president is a Democrat as well, these provisions have put funding for large swaths of the federal government in jeopardy.

Republicans added several anti-LGBTQ+ measures to the NDAA, including measures to remove any gender-affirming care coverage for trans troops and to ban any book that has “pornographic materials.” The former would block TRICARE – the health care plan for servicemembers, their families, and the National Guard – from reimbursing gender-affirming care, even for adults. The ban includes hormone replacement therapy, which could force trans people who depend on TRICARE to detransition.

Republicans also added a provision banning the military from helping servicemembers stationed in states that ban abortion from traveling to a state where they can access an abortion.

Last week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), a former member of the Freedom Caucus until they kicked her out, complained about the updated measure and said that she was going to vote against it.

“Democrat trans policy, Democrat abortion policy, 300 million for Ukraine is back in the NDAA,” she ranted in a video posted to X.

“Now, we’re supposed to just grin and take it with no say in the final bill,” she wrote in an accompanying message. “This was a total sell-out of conservative principles and a huge win for Democrats. Congratulations to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, you should all be excited to vote for this! I’m a HELL NO!”

Johnson’s office said in a statement that the NDAA still contains many conservative priorities.

“Speaker Johnson and committee leaders fought tooth and nail to refocus the Pentagon on core national defense priorities and away from the Biden Administration’s social experiments and climate agenda that in recent years have decimated our military’s recruitment, morale, and readiness,” the statement said.

“This year’s NDAA is over 2,000 pages shorter than last year’s, reins in taxpayer-funded censorship of conservative media, bans CRT in the military and its schools, hollows out Biden’s DEI bureaucracy at the Pentagon, and protects the rights of military parents in their children’s education.”

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