The Washington Post

Eight facts you didn’t know about Jeh Johnson

FILE - OCTOBER 17: U.S. President Barack Obama will nominate Jeh Johnson, former Defense Department General Counsel, for the Secretary of Homeland Security role, according to reports on October 17, 2013. WASHINGTON - MARCH 3: Jeh Johnson, general counsel for the Defense Department and co-chairman of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Working Group, speaks during hearing of the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill March 3, 2010 in Washington, DC. The committee called US military officials to speak about repealing Jeh Johnson, former Defense Department General Counsel, is President Obama’s pick to be Secretary of Homeland Security. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

You’ll hear a lot about Jeh Johnson, President Obama’s pick to head the Department of Homeland Security, in the coming weeks. Drones (he’s defended them) and “don’t ask don’t tell” (he’s against), mostly.

But here are a few things about the Pentagon lawyer you might not know:

– His name is pronounced “Jay.”

– He and his wife, Susan DiMarco, met as children, but started dating only after Johnson visited her dental practice. He “endured three years of dental work before she agreed to a date with him,” according to their wedding announcement in the New York Times.

– His uncle, 2d Lt Robert B. Johnson, was one of the famed Tuskegee airmen.

-During his freshman year at Morehouse College, his grade-point average was a “dismal 1.8.”

– His grandfather, Charles S. Johnson, a prominent sociologist and participant in the Harlem Renaissance, was the president of Fisk University.

– He was once a law partner of the late Ted Sorensen,  John F. Kennedy’s speechwriter. Johnson called him “one of my personal heroes.”

– He once said in an interview that in his next life, he’d like to be an “NYC subway motorman, preferably the #7 Flushing line.”

– His birthday is Sept. 11.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.



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