Speaker of the House Mike Johnson on Wednesday celebrated Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Washington, D.C. to meet with House and Senate Republicans, barely blocks away from where the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and on democracy itself took place. Many hold the-then president and his “Big Lie” responsible for the insurrection, and he has been indicted on charges related to it.

Johnson was asked if the ex-president is committed to and respects the peaceful transfer of power.

The Speaker’s response has angered some critics.

Johnson has a tenuous grip on his gavel and on the House GOP majority. He has already faced one vote to remove him, and survived it thanks to House Democrats. To shore up his power, Johnson has traveled to Mar-a-Lago to appear with the indicted and now criminally-convicted ex-president, and has promoted several pieces of legislation critics say only serve as messaging vehicles to please Trump.

Pointing out that this will be he first time Trump has met with both House and Senate Republicans in D.C. since the January 6 insurrection, a reporter Wednesday morning asked the Speaker, “are you committed or have you spoken about basically not doing anything like that again and committing to respecting the American tradition of peaceful transfer?”

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Johnson, whose emotions are often on view, repeatedly frown and looked irritated as the reporter spoke.

“Of course he respects that,” Johnson said frustratedly. “And we all do and we’ve all talked about it ad nauseam.”

“We’re excited to welcome President Trump back and he’ll be meeting with the Senate Republicans of course, after he has a breakfast with us. And there’s high anticipation here and great excitement.”

Ahead of Johnson’s remarks CBS News congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane had posted where Thursday’s meeting with House Republicans and Donald Trump will take place.

If there were no question about Donald Trump’s commitment to the peaceful transfer of power – and there is given to this day he calls insurrectionists, “warriors,” “victims,” “hostages,” and “patriots” – the Speaker would not need to be discussing it “ad nauseam.”

As a backbencher before being elevated to Speaker, Johnson was not just a little-known congressman, he was an architect of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Johnson spread election fraud conspiracy theories and lies, as a CNN investigation published in April confirmed.

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Also back in April, Johnson tried to rewrite history, whitewashing the role of insurrectionists and those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, saying some of them were “innocent, you know, people who were there and just happened to be walking through the building.”

Highlighting those remarks, The New Republic reported, “the Republican leader seemed to suggest that the 2,000 people who charged the halls, destroyed federal property, and interrupted the peaceful presidential transfer of power—1,265 of whom have been charged by federal authorities—were actually mere innocent bystanders.”

Critics were quick to call out Johnson’s remarks.

Veteran journalist John Harwood responded, saying, “by lying here, Johnson shows he understands that what he and House GOP helped Trump do in Jan 2021, and what Trump intends to do again if necessary, is wrong.”

He added, “if he weren’t ashamed of it, he’d tell the truth.”

Award-winning CNBC/NBC News reporter Carl Quintanilla responded to Johnson’s remarks with a 4-second clip of a someone who appears to be attacking law enforcement with the American flag on January 6.

“Bulls—,” declared former Tea Party Republican U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh. “Trump is humanly incapable of accepting an election loss. He will NEVER respect the peaceful transfer of power. And Mike Johnson knows that.”

The Biden campaign reposted the video and remarked, “(No, he clearly does not).”

Media critic and former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob responded with: “Mike Johnson is a lying traitor.”

Mother Jones D.C. bureau chief David Corn wrote: “Given that Trump has promised to pardon the 1/6 insurrectionist rioters who attacked the Capitol, he’s not showing much respect for the rule of law or the peaceful transfer of power. Johnson is lying for Trump. That’s not very Biblical.”

Watch Johnson’s remarks below or at this link.

See the video and social media posts above or at this link.

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