During a recent appearance on a talk radio show with right-wing host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) defended the crowd of Trump supporters who swarmed D.C. on January 6, insisting that he was not concerned because he “knew those were people who love this country.” Not only that — Johnson also said that he would have been concerned if the demonstrators had been associated with Black Lives Matter or “Antifa,” seemingly implying that he believes that, as a rule, Black Lives Matter demonstrators do not “love this country.”
This is real: Republican Ron Johnson says the Capitol attackers 'love this country,' but he would have felt unsafe if Black Lives Matter protesters had stormed the Capitol instead. https://t.co/siOwbBsCZk
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 13, 2021
Johnson’s comments are, of course, disgusting. The crowd that he defended stormed the Capitol in an attack that is connected to multiple deaths and threatened the lives of members of Congress and others. The Trump supporters who swarmed the Capitol building sought the murder of perceived political opponents like then-Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). They didn’t stop there — rioters also violently assaulted members of law enforcement and went after members of the media. Now, looking back, Johnson’s conclusion is that the crowd “love[s] this country.”
Johnson commented as follows, addressing the host:
‘I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned. Now, had the tables been turned, and Joe — this is going to get me in trouble — 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.’
Blatant racism from @RonJohnsonWI here. He says he wasn’t worried on 1/6 because the majority-white insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol “love this country,” but says if they were Black Lives Matter protestors he would’ve been concerned for his safety. #WISen pic.twitter.com/V3gm4cLw8v
— American Bridge 21st Century (@American_Bridge) March 12, 2021
What delusional fantasy world is Johnson living in? Members of the crowd that he’s extolling did, in fact, break the law — to say the least! Hundreds of ongoing federal criminal cases are connected to the rioting, and those who’ve been taken into custody include a then-official at the State Department and two individuals associated with the Oath Keepers militia who provided personal security to longtime Trump ally Roger Stone. That then-official, Federico Klein, previously received a top secret security clearance and, stunningly, remained on the job after violently physically assaulting law enforcement at the Capitol! Does Johnson think that Klein and the Oath Keepers “love this country”?
Wisconsin state Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D), who is Black, commented as follows about Johnson’s remarks:
‘What, white people love this country and Black people don’t? That’s exactly what he’s saying. For him to say something as racist as that — it’s ridiculous. It’s a totally racist comment and the insult to injury is he didn’t mind saying it in the position that he holds because for some reason that’s just deemed as acceptable behavior for people who live in and are elected officials in this state.’
In an ideal world, Johnson would face systematic pushback from within his party for his remarks. There’s no indication that any such pushback is on the horizon.