Sen. Johnson’s Comments Commending Jan. 6 Rioters Generate Outrage

Democratic lawmakers and progressive pundits slammed Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) following his description of the mob of pro-Trump insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 as people who “truly respect law enforcement” and “love this country,” while adding he might have been concerned for his safety if the rioters were affiliated with Black Lives Matter or Antifa.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he might have been concerned for his safety if the Jan. 6 rioters … [+]

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) called out Johnson on Twitter, pointing out that “the mob murdered a police officer and injured 140 other officers.”

Reverend Talbert W. Swan, president of the NAACP’s Springfield, Massachusetts, branch called Johnson “racist trash.”


Rep. Mark Pocan, (D-Wisc.) called Johnson’s comments “seriously embarrassing to our state” and that “we’ve moved from just plain old fringe, extremist rants to fringe extremist and racist rants.”

MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan characterized Johnson’s remarks as “despicable and shocking,” and CNN host Don Lemon said Johnson was “spewing blatant racism.”

Forbes reached out to Johnson’s office for comment but did not immediately hear back.

In an interview on “The Joe Pags Show” earlier this week, Johnson said “even though those thousands of people that were marching to the Capitol,” he “wasn’t concerned.” Johnson explained he felt he wasn’t in harm’s way because he “knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law.” The senator went on to add, “Now, had the tables been turned… and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.” Johnson acknowledged that his comments “could get [him] in trouble.”

Last month, Johnson claimed the “great majority” of the rioters at the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection had a “jovial, friendly, earnest demeanor” and that the individuals responsible included “agent provocateurs” and “fake Trump protesters.”

“It’s disgraceful for a sitting Senator to spread disinformation so blatantly,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), in response to Johnson’s unsubstantiated claims. “It’s a disservice to the people he serves to continue lying to them like this. It’s dangerous and it must stop.”

300. Having already charged more than 300 individuals (many of them white nationalists and right-wing militia members) in connection with the violent riots at the Capitol, federal prosecutors for the Department of Justice stated Friday that they expect to bring charges against at least 100 more.

DOJ: 100 Or More Still Face Charges Over Capitol Attack (Forbes)

Critics slam Sen. Ron Johnson for unfounded claim that ‘fake Trump protesters’ led riots: ‘It’s disgraceful’ (WaPo)

I’m a New York-based news desk reporter for Forbes covering sports, politics and business. Please feel free to contact me via email (tsbeer7 [@] or Twitter


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