Russian state media turns on “traitor” Mike Johnson

Some of Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s closest allies have flipped their narrative of House Speaker Mike Johnson after the Republican leader supported the passing of an additional aid package for Ukraine.

During a Sunday broadcast of the television talk show Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov, the Kremlin propagandist host called Johnson a “traitor” for pushing supplement funding for Kyiv despite members of his political party opposing the spending measure.

The House passed a $60.8 billion spending measure intended to support Ukraine’s war against Russia on Saturday following months of resistance from GOP lawmakers. Johnson touted the bill as the “right thing” to do in the days leading up to the chamber’s vote. Democrats also rallied behind passing the measure on Saturday, and President Joe Biden has urged the Senate to pass the bill immediately.

Speaker Mike Johnson speaks to members of the press after the House of Representatives passed bills, including aid to Ukraine and Israel, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on April 20, 2024. Johnson was attacked…

DREW ANGERER/AFP via Getty Images

According to reporting by Julia Davis, a top news analyst who runs the Russian Media Monitor project, Solovyov said on Sunday that the new Ukrainian bill was a “brutal victory” for Biden because “he did not give anything to Republicans.”

“Biden achieved everything. He apparently used backstage methods to lure to his side the man whom the Republicans chose to represent the House,” Solovyov said, referring to Johnson.

“[Johnson] betrayed them!” he continued. “He totally betrayed them! Not us, we have no friends there…This is all you need to know about American politics. They’re traitors!”

Russian state-run media personnel have previously shown affection toward Johnson. Talkshow host Olga Skabeeva referred to the speaker as “our Johnson” in a broadcast earlier this month. According to Davis’ reporting, similar statements have been made about former President Donald Trump, with some television hosts referring to him as “our Trump” or “Trumpushka.”

Newsweek reached out to Johnson’s office via email for comment Monday afternoon.

A number of Republicans have spoken out against Johnson and the passing of additional aid to Ukraine, including conservatives like Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who introduced a motion to vacate against the speaker after he worked with Democrats to pass a $1.2 trillion federal spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Greene was praised by Margarita Simonyan, a top Kremlin propagandist and editor-in-chief of the Russian state-owned media channel RT, during Solovyov’s talk show on Sunday, calling the congresswoman “a real beauty.”

“Marjorie Taylor Greene you’ve just shown is a beauty,” Simonyan said after Soloyov showed clips of the congresswoman. “She is one of a few members of the U.S. Congress who is trying to look like a person in an old-fashioned sense of the word.”

Greene is often featured on Russian state TV and has been accused of parroting Kremlin propaganda. She has previously dismissed such accusations.