Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican representing the state of Wisconsin, reportedly said he wasn’t threatened by the white supremacist who stormed the Capitol on January 6, but that he might’ve been “concerned” had the people been affiliated with Black Lives Matter of Antifa.
“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,” Johnson said.
Hundreds of rioters from the attack on the Capitol have been arrested for breaking the law that day, including two men who were charged with assaulting an officer who died as a result of injuries he suffered during the riot.
Speaking in terms of a hypothetical situation, Johnson said he may not have been as comfortable had the rioters been associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Now, had the tables been turned… this could get me in trouble,” Johnson started. “Had the tables been turned, and President [Donald] Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned,” he said.
During the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, Republican lawmakers tried to compare last summer’s protests against police violence to the deadly riot at the Capitol. Democrats criticized Johnson’s words, some calling them “embarrassing.”
Rep. Mark Pocan, a fellow lawmaker from Wisconsin, tweeted on Saturday morning (March 13), saying his remarks were “seriously embarrassing to our state.” He added, “We’ve moved from just plain old fringe, extremist rants to fringe extremist and racist rants.”
Rep. Ayanna Pressley said Johnson’s words were “stunning” while speaking on MSNBC. Pressley, whose panic button had been torn out of her office before the riot, said the mob that actually carried out the attack demonstrated that “white supremacy is a threat to every American life and to our democracy.” She added that Johnson’s statement was “[d]amning commentary, but certainly not surprising.”
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