Trump and Mike Johnson promote ‘great replacement’ theory to unveil election bill at Mar-a-Lago

House Speaker Mike Johnson travelled to Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate to promote a bill that would ban noncitizens from voting, which is already illegal.

Mr Johnson, behind a lectern bearing the club’s logo, claimed that “election integrity” is tied to a “lack of border security,” which he claims is the most important issue facing American voters.

With the former president at his side on Friday, Mr Johnson promoted legislation that would require citizenship to cast a ballot, alleging that Democratic officials’ “designs” for an “open border” intend to “turn these people into voters.”

The “many millions of illegals in the country” could “turn an election,” he said.

Friday’s event – featuring the man who is third in line for the presidency alongside the presumed Republican nominee for the presidency – echoed the baseless far-right “great replacement” conspiracy theory that appeared to be designed to sow doubt about election outcomes in the event Mr Trump loses a second time.

The so-called “great replacement” theory posits that Democratic officials are intentionally allowing nonwhite minorities into the US to replace voting populations.

Mr Johnson played a central role among members of Congress in rejecting Mr Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election, and he took the lead in a brief to the US Supreme Court with 125 other House Republicans to support Mr Trump’s failed legal challenge to overturn President Joe Biden’s victories in several states.

He later voted against certifying Mr Biden’s win during a joint session of Congress on 6 January 2021, even after the Trump-fuelled riots at the US Capitol.

In the months after Mr Trump’s election loss in 2020, GOP officials began promoting so-called “election integrity” legislation that echoed many of the false claims promoted by Mr Trump and his allies to discredit election officials and policies that certified his loss.

There is virtually no evidence that noncitizens are voting in federal elections at a scale that Mr Trump has baselessly alleged, continuing his false narrative of widespread election fraud that paved the way for a mob of his supporters to storm the halls of Congress to reject the results by force.

Donald Trumps speaks at Mar-a-Lago on 12 April with House Speaker Mike Johnson. (AP)
Donald Trumps speaks at Mar-a-Lago on 12 April with House Speaker Mike Johnson. (AP)

Here, his ongoing claims that elections are “rigged” against him dovetailed with his anti-immigrant platform, as Republicans make US-Mexico border security a central pillar of 2024 campaigns.

Federal law already prohibits noncitizens from casting ballots in federal elections, and only a handful of states have allowed noncitizens to vote in local or municipal elections.

“As fact-checkers across the board have made clear, it is already illegal for noncitizens to vote in federal elections. The American people see through today’s stunt, which amounts to House Republicans wasting time,” according to a statement from White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates.

In his remarks, Mr Trump claimed “we have an election problem” and demanded that the US-Mexico border be “closed.”

“Millions and millions are pouring in that no one’s reporting,” he said. “Some are terrorists … They come from jails and prisons, they come from mental institutions and insane asylums They come from all over the world.”

Mr Trump – who has previously stated that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of the US – has repeatedly falsely alleged that unreported millions of people are pouring into the country, which is not supported by federal government data.