Home » Mike Johnson told Katie Britt ‘it’ll be fine’ before State of the Union rebuttal | Republicans

Mike Johnson told Katie Britt ‘it’ll be fine’ before State of the Union rebuttal | Republicans

by John Jefferson
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Katie Britt, the Alabama senator who delivered a much-mocked State of the Union response last week, rued the “irony” of being told by the Republican speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, that “it’ll be fine” before giving her disastrous speech.

Speaking to the hard-right Texas senator Ted Cruz, on his Verdict with Ted Cruz podcast, Britt said Johnson told her: “People are going to tell you horror stories about all of these things that happen and people’s career being blown up over it.’

“And he’s like, ‘It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine.’”

It was not fine.

Her speech focused on Republican talking points prominently including immigration and crime. But Britt’s bizarrely dramatic delivery, in particular in a lurid section on sex trafficking and immigration subsequently picked apart by factcheckers and the subject of the story herself, prompted widespread mockery.

NBC’s Saturday Night Live comedy show even opened with the actor Scarlett Johansson playing Britt as “not just a senator [but] a wife, a mother, and the craziest bitch in the Target parking lot”.

Delivering the State of the Union response is indeed often a thankless task, as former rising stars whose efforts were widely pilloried, Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio among them, would ruefully attest.

Britt, 42 and elected for the first time in 2022, said she also spoke to Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate, before accepting the job even though she hadn’t “even given a floor speech yet”.

Britt delivered her response to Joe Biden from her kitchen, a choice made as Republicans target women increasingly unlikely to vote for a party that has cracked down on reproductive rights and will field in Donald Trump a presidential candidate ordered to pay $83.3m over a rape claim a judge called “substantially true”.

Britt told Cruz she was asked to speak in part because she is “the only [Senate] Republican female with school-aged kids”, and could “kind of bring that like next-generation voice”.

Embracing some of the lampooning, Britt told Cruz she was “pretty pumped” to have been played by Johansson.

“I said you know, look, it could be worse. I mean, Scarlett Johansson. Here, you have Black Widow.’ They bring in someone from Avengers to play me in the cold open. I’m here for it.”

Cruz complained that SNL has parodied him many times but he has not been played by someone so attractive.

“Scarlett Johansson is hot,” Cruz said. “I am genuinely jealous because, look, SNL has come after me a bunch of times. They don’t ever have Tom Cruise play me.”

In November 2021, the SNL cold open satirised Cruz’s complaints about the beloved Sesame Street character Big Bird encouraging children to get vaccinated against Covid-19. As on other occasions, Cruz was played by Aidy Bryant.

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