Mike Johnson opens up about near-death of his sons near Mar-A-Lago

 April 24, 2024

House Speaker Mike Johnson (La.) is counting his blessings after two of his sons nearly drowned during a pilgrimage to Mar-A-Lago.

The shocking incident went unreported until Johnson shared the story with The Atlantic. 

Johnson, known for his devout evangelical faith, rose from obscurity last year when he was elected to replace former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

He wasn't on the job long when Trump invited him and his two sons to dinner during Thanksgiving week. Johnson was in Palm Beach for a fundraiser at a nearby hotel.

Mar-A-Lago drowning incident

While Johnson was meeting with donors, his security detail entered the room with an urgent message: “Mr. Speaker, we need you right now,” they said.

Johnson's 18-year-old son Jack had attempted to rescue his little brother, 13-year-old Will, from drowning after they were both swept by a rip current. A paraglider spotted the trouble from above.

Lifeguards came to the rescue and when Johnson arrived at the beach, he found first responders rendering first aid. They spent hours in the emergency room before going home.

Johnson said Trump was touched by the episode, and shared in Johnson's affirmation that divine intervention was involved.

“He was just so moved by the idea that we almost lost them, and we talked about it at great length,” Johnson said.

“And we talked about the faith aspect of that, because he knows that I believe that, you know—that God spared the lives of my sons. That’s how I understand those events, and we talked about that.”

“And he said, he repeated back to me and said, ‘God—God saved your sons’ lives,’” Johnson added.

Trump guided by faith

Johnson attests that Trump is guided by faith, citing the near-drowning episode as one example when Trump showed his religious side.

“You know, he talks about faith,” the Speaker said. “He and I’ve talked about faith.”

Trump and Johnson are working closely together as the Speaker faces backlash over his support of foreign aid for Ukraine. Trump says Johnson is doing the best he can with limited leverage.

"Well, look, we have a majority of one, OK? It's not like he can go and do whatever he wants to do. I think he's a very good person. You know, he stood very strongly with me on NATO," Trump said on Monday.

"I think he's trying very hard."

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