Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said on Monday that he doesn’t think the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol was an “armed insurrection,” while pointing out that the Democrat’s rhetoric was hypocritical.
Johnson made the comments during an appearance on the radio talk show 1130 WISN where he told host Jay Weber that while he thinks the violence at the Capitol was reprehensible, he doesn’t believe the narrative pushed by the Democrats and the media was entirely accurate.
He underscored that the violence was perpetrated by “groups of agitators,” not the tens of thousands of supporters of former President Donald Trump.
“The hundreds of thousands of people that attend those Trump rallies, those are the people that love this country. They never would have done what happened on Jan. 6,” Johnson said. “That is a group of people that love freedom. That is a group of people … we need to unify and keep on our side.”
Johnson acknowledged that unacceptable behavior played out on Jan. 6. He condemned the conduct of the rioters but also took issue with the Democrats’ characterization of the event by calling it an “armed” insurrection.
“When you hear the word ‘armed,’ don’t you think of firearms? Here’s the questions I would have liked to ask—how many firearms were confiscated? How many shots were fired? I’m only aware of one, and I’ll defend that law enforcement officer for taking that shot. It was a tragedy, but I think there was only one,” Johnson said.
“If that was a planned armed insurrection, man, you had really a bunch of idiots,” he added.
Johnson, who has been frequently targeted by the media for being a vocal supporter of the former president, said that he and his colleagues were aware of the hypocrisy surrounding the Senate impeachment trial and the criticism against former President Donald Trump.
He said Trump and other Republicans received “attacks” and scrutiny for doing things that were previously done by Democrats.
“To my mind, while the house managers are making their case … okay you’re accusing Donald Trump of all this stuff, but what about Hillary Clinton telling [President Joe] Biden … never to concede the race, you know. How about all the folks that, you know, never condemned the [Black Lives Matter] and Antifa peaceful protest turned to riots that burned down dozens of buildings in Racine,” Johnson said, adding that some of these lawmakers were supportive of the “defund the police” movement.
“So you’re sitting in that trial, you’re listening to all this, and you understand, it’s just dripping with hypocrisy.”
He also added that the House impeachment managers’ arguments were easily dismantled by Trump lawyers because they did not address the core questions of the trial and took quotes and footage out of context. He also criticized the impeachment prosecutors for allegedly doctoring evidence and selectively editing footage, accusations that Trump lawyers brought up during the trial. Democrats have denied the allegations.
The Wisconsin senator said that while he learned new details about the Jan. 6 incidents from the House’s case, there were still many unanswered questions from the day that Americans would like to know. He added that he has sent letters to the Sergeant at Arms of both the House and the Senate and has not received any responses.
Several House Republican leaders on Monday sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asking for information about what she knew about the breach prior to Jan. 6.
Lawmakers have indicated that they would like a 9/11-style commission to probe into the Jan. 6 incident in order to prevent it from happening in the future. Pelosi on Monday expressed commitment to establishing such a commission.