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On Race, Mike Johnson Says His Views Were Shaped by Raising a Black Child

When Mike Johnson, the new House speaker, talks about race in America, he often draws a striking personal connection, telling the story of how he and his wife, Kelly, “took custody” of a Black teenager 24 years ago and raised him as a son.

“I have walked with him through discrimination that he has had to endure over the years and the hurdles he sometimes faced,” he told a House committee in 2019, while testifying against reparations for slavery. “I know all this because I was with him.”

When Mr. Johnson was named House speaker this week, his relationship with his son, like much of Mr. Johnson’s personal and political life, faced new scrutiny. There is no mention of the man, who is now an adult, raising his own family in California, in Mr. Johnson’s official biography. And he does not appear in the family photos posted on the congressman’s website. Mr. Johnson has four biological children: two daughters and two sons.

On Friday, Mr. Johnson sought to explain the absence, saying it was in deference to his son Michael’s request for privacy.

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