FEATURED PHOTO: HOUSE SPEAKER MIKE JOHNSON R-LOUISIANA
BusinessInsider.com, By Alia Shoaib, Posted November 9th 2023
Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson’s “adopted” Black son has spoken publicly about him for the first time, following reports questioning why he’s stayed out of the spotlight.
Michael Tirrell James, 40, told DailyMail.com that he would “probably be in prison” if it wasn’t for Johnson.
“If the Johnsons hadn’t taken me in as a teenager, my life would look very different today. I would probably be in prison or I might not have made it at all,” James, now a father of four, told the outlet.
DailyMail.com reported that Johnson and his wife took custody of James when he became homeless at 16 and raised him as their son, and he lived in their home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
James later had a series of run-ins with the law, being convicted of drug possession, retail theft, and violating a restraining order.
“I always felt loved like I was a part of their family,” James told DailyMail.com. “They have been there for me when I have been lost and in the deepest valleys, and I know it was hard at times to constantly help someone who didn’t always get it right.”
Johnson, a Louisiana congressman and a Christian, told the outlet that he believes “God intended for Michael to be a part of our lives.”
“Kelly and I have always seen him as one of our own. Despite any mistakes he’s made, we love Michael and are blessed to have him in our family,” Johnson said.
Though he raised him as his own, Johnson said he never formally adopted James because of the “lengthy adoption process,” The New York Times reported.
James has never participated in Johnson’s political career or campaigned for him.
Johnson’s communications director, Corinne Day, told Newsweek that James’ absence was because he “was an adult with a family of his own” and “asked not to be involved in their new public life.”
The New York Times reported that Johnson previously compared their experience to “The Blind Side,” a 2009 movie starring Sandra Bullock, in which a white couple takes in a Black teenager who goes on to become a football star.