Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) said on Monday that he has been “mercilessly” attacked because he pushed back on a false narrative surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
“I have been attacked and criticized because I pushed back on the narrative that there were thousands of armed insurrectionists. And that’s just part of a small part of the 74 million Americans that voted for President Trump that also need to be suspect of being potential domestic terrorists or also potentially armed insurrectionists,” Johnson told C-SPAN. “This is a false narrative.”
Johnson said last week on “The Joe Pags Show” radio show that he wasn’t particularly concerned about the mobs of people who breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 because he knew the protestors “love this country.”
“I knew that even though those thousands of people that were marching to the Capitol were trying to pressure people like me to vote the way they wanted me to vote, I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, and so I wasn’t concerned,” he said on the radio show.
But if President Donald Trump won the election, and tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protested, “I might have been a little concerned,” Johnson added.
Johnson received criticism from Democrat politicians and left-wing media for his remarks.
“They would have hurt you if they got their hands on you,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) wrote on Twitter to Johnson. “That’s why Senators hid that day. Remember?”
Wisconsin state Sen. LaTonya Johnson said that Johnson’s comment was “totally racist.”
Johnson told C-SPAN that “I wasn’t surprised, but it’s still pretty shocking” that his “completely innocuous comment” was turned into “some kind of racist comment.”
Johnson explained that “this isn’t about race, it’s about riots,” because according to a study, “left-wing activists, left-wing anarchists” turned 570 of “7,000 peaceful protests” into violence or riots, causing about 25 deaths, over 700 law enforcement officers wounded, and $1 to $2 billion in property damage. In Johnson’s state, “close to three dozen businesses and other buildings burned to the ground” in Kenosha.
“There were white people in there, there were all races involved in those riots,” Johnson added.
Johnson said that he “personally knows all kinds of Trump supporters. They respect law enforcement” and “the vast majority of Trump supporters respect law enforcement, would never even think about rioting or committing any kind of illegal act.” He noted the “other side wants to defund the police. We want to make sure that police are properly funded so they can protect themselves while they’re protecting us.”
Johnson stated that he unequivocally condemns violence, no matter if it’s from the Jan. 6 breach or BLM protests, “just like on the Capitol, it’s a small percentage of the people involved in those protests that actually turned to violence.”
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.