Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson on Monday hit back at those critical of his comments concerning Black Lives Matter and the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
While appearing on “Fox News Primetime,” Johnson addressed the criticism that his comments, made during an appearance on “The Joe Pags Show,” were “racist.” He told host Maria Bartiromo that there was “nothing racial” about the comments he made and that “the left is happy to use the race card whenever they can.” (RELATED: ‘There’s Nothing Subconscious About This Racism’: Joe Scarborough Says Sen. Ron Johnson Wants Supporters To ‘Know He’s A Bigot’)
Bartiromo began by asking Johnson to explain what he meant by his comments, in which he said the Capitol rioters were people who “loved this country” and “respect law enforcement,” and if the tables were turned and “those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters,” then he might have been concerned.
“Well, first of all, I condemned, and I wasn’t talking about the people that actually stormed the Capitol and assaulted police officers. I condemned that, as I condemn, quite honestly, anybody that rioted in the summer. Leftist activists sparked riots as well,” Johnson responded.
He went on to say he was talking about the “vast majority” of Trump supporters he knows that love and support law enforcement, and would never “think of rioting or breaking the law.” He added that his comments have been completely “blown out of proportion” because the majority of people who came to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 were there to “protest legally,” not “to storm the Capitol” or “riot.”
“There was nothing racial in my comments whatsoever. The left is happy to use the race card whenever they can,” he continued. “This is about riots, and rioters, and leftist activists and anarchists that rioted in 570 different cities, caused about $1.2 billion worth of damage, about 25 people lost their lives, 700 law enforcement officers were assaulted and injured during those riots, but the left wants to forget about those.”
“Apparently those were righteous riots. I’m just trying to push back on their false narrative and they’re attacking me for it,” he concluded.
This isn’t about race. It’s about riots. I won’t be silenced by the Left.https://t.co/3hzTLZLjfd
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) March 16, 2021
Johnson’s Fox appearance to refute the attacks against him followed an op-ed he wrote in The Wall Street Journal published Monday evening, in which he said the left “twisted” what he said about the Capitol riot “because they want Americans to forget last summer’s violence and destruction.” Johnson was referring to the massive protests following the death of George Floyd in May.