That’s what Rep. Johnston told me today.
I had been sent the images by a reader and constituent of Johnston’s. One consists of a joke about an individual attending a black church, with the punch line being that the person’s car was stolen. Johnston didn’t make the joke, but his account was used to post a “laughing out loud” reaction to it:
Another image is a joke posted from Johnston’s account about former President Barack Obama. The punchline of the joke is that America elected a “Muslim with no brain, no heart, and no balls.”
The reader who sent me the images said they date from years ago, but couldn’t provide exact dates.
Screenshots the reader provided also indicate that Johnston’s Facebook account is a follower of a QAnon conspiracy theory page.
The QAnon conspiracy theory, for those of you who don’t know, purports that an anonymous, high-ranking person in the federal government named “Q” is working to stop “deep state” actors in the federal government who themselves are trying to thwart the policies of President Donald Trump. The movement has been linked to false accusations of child sex trafficking against prominent celebrities and politicians.
“Oh, sure,” Johnston replied when I asked him if he follows that page.
“As far as the posts go, I don’t recall them,” Johnston told me of the Facebook posts from his and his wife’s joint account.
“I don’t doubt that’s the case,” he added when I asked if they were authentic, “but I don’t recall them.”
He declined to add any further comment when asked.
Johnston was first elected to represent District 24 in the North Dakota legislature in 2016. He is currently seeking the NDGOP’s nomination for state Treasurer. Incumbent Treasurer Kelly Schmidt, a Republican, announced earlier this year that she wouldn’t be seeking another term.
No other candidates for the office have publicly announced yet.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.