Federal Workers Who Protest Gaza War Should Be Fired, House Speaker Says

House Speaker Mike Johnson (Getty Images)
January 15, 2024

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.) said Sunday that any federal employee who protests America's support for Israel's war in Gaza should be fired.

His comments came in response to the news that workers in several executive agencies plan to walk out on Tuesday, Jan. 16, as an act of dissent against President Joe Biden's handling of the war, now nearly 100 days long.

"Any government worker who walks off the job to protest U.S. support for our ally Israel is ignoring their responsibility and abusing the trust of taxpayers," Johnson said on X, formerly Twitter. "They deserve to be fired."

"Oversight Chairman Comer and I will be working together to ensure that each federal agency initiates appropriate disciplinary proceedings against any person who walks out on their job," Johnson continued, referencing House Committee on Oversight and Accountability chairman James Comer (R., Ky.).

Johnson was responding to a report from Al-Monitor about a group calling itself Feds United for Peace, which will stage a walkout of federal employees on Tuesday to protest Biden's support for Israel on the 100th day of the Jewish state's military response to Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attacks. The group expects hundreds of employees to participate.

"What you're seeing with this effort is something very unusual, and that is for dissent to be manifested via a physical act," one anonymous organizer told Al-Monitor.

After Johnson made his comments, the group responded in a statement to the outlet.

"This is not a strike. This is a day of mourning. The purpose is to provide space for ourselves to mourn and heal. We serve the American people every day and do so with conviction and pride," it said, adding that "sometimes, our leaders take actions counter to our values, and the broader values of the American people. We have a right to freedom of expression too, and our views express only those in our personal capacities."

This is not the first time that staffers in the Biden administration have protested against its policies toward Israel. Over 500 of the administration's employees anonymously signed a November letter to Biden urging him to push for a ceasefire in the conflict.

"We call on President Biden to urgently demand a ceasefire; and to call for de-escalation of the current conflict by securing the immediate release of the Israeli hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians; the restoration of water, fuel, electricity and other basic services; and the passage of adequate humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip," the letter read, according to NBC News.

Earlier this month, 17 anonymous staffers on Biden's reelection campaign issued an open letter making similar demands.