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GOP Senator Ron Johnson suggests January 6 riot was not as bad as it is claimed

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) Challenged on Thursday how the Jan.6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was portrayed, saying public performance of the event that resulted in the deaths of five people was “very biased. “

“I think this was prompted by the very fluid video that was produced by the impeachment officials,” he told reporters at the Milwaukee Press Club on Thursday, adding: “There has been a lot of misinformation. , but they didn’t come out of my mouth. “

Video released during former President Donald Trump’s February impeachment trial exposed the deadly January 6 timeline, including how events coincided with remarks made by Trump himself. Indeed, thousands of Trump supporters marched that day to the United States Capitol at the President’s request, in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the election results in favor of Joe Biden.

Johnson has always tried to minimize the riot. In February, he said it was not an “armed insurgency”, although there was ample evidence of weapons on Capitol Hill that day, in addition to violence inflicted by rioters. to the police. In March, he said he “never felt threatened” that day and that the pro-Trump mob who shoved the Capitol cops were individuals who “genuinely respect law enforcement.” and “loved this country”.

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A pro-Trump mob tried to push the police back to break into the United States Capitol.

Johnson was one of the Republicans who filibustered the law to create an independent bipartisan commission to study the January 6 attack, both to examine its causes and how to prevent such an event from happening again. .

Johnson continued to blame Trump on Thursday, saying the real people to blame are “the perpetrators of the crime. But he also hinted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Could be at fault, saying the reason he voted against the legislation to form the commission is because he didn’t trust her to “select commissioners to investigate its own involvement in this affair”.

Pelosi would not have chosen the 10 commissioners; half would be chosen by Democrats, the other half by Republicans. Democrats could nominate the president because they have a majority in the House and Senate.

Johnson was not one of the senators who voted against Biden’s certification as the winner of the January 6 election. But six of his GOP colleagues in the Senate and 121 in the House did. And a Monmouth University poll in late February found that two-thirds of Republicans don’t believe Biden won legitimately. Yet Johnson still insisted on Thursday that the GOP had accepted their victory: “I think we did. What remains to be accepted?

Even though Johnson has said he thinks Biden is really the president, he said he still supports some state GOP efforts, such as in Arizona, which work to verify and question legitimacy. election results because of “irregularities. ”

Johnson’s appearance at the press club on Thursday touched on a number of other topics, including whether he believes systemic racism in America is real. He said no and told black activists to read more speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I don’t believe America is a systematically racist nation,” he said. “I wish that the current leaders of some of these movements would really go back and reread the speeches of MLK Jr. and its approach to achieving greater racial equality.

King’s legacy has often been whitewashed by whites over the years. His approach to white supremacy and poverty was much more radical than often described, in a way that would likely make Johnson uncomfortable today.

In 2020, Johnson blocked a bipartisan effort to make Juneteenth – a celebration commemorating the end of slavery on a federal holiday, saying it was too expensive.

Johnson is running for re-election in 2022, but he still doesn’t know if he will run.


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