Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson confronted President Joe Biden’s nominee for Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Debroah Lipstadt, Tuesday for previously suggesting he is a “white nationalist.”
Johnson said a hypothetical storming of the Capitol by Black Lives Matter and Antifa would have caused him to be “a little concerned” in March, 2021. Lipstadt called the senator’s remarks “white supremacy” and “white nationalism” in a March 14 tweet.
This is white supremacy/nationalism. Pure and simple. GOP Senator Johnson slammed as ‘white nationalist sympathizer’ after race remarks https://t.co/9vaBQsqK7J
— Deborah E. Lipstadt (@deborahlipstadt) March 14, 2021
Johnson mentioned Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s previous statement about public figures engaging in “malicious poison” circulating across social media at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. He then questioned Lipstadt on her hypothetical reaction if accused of being a racist.
“It was interesting to hear Senator Schumer talk about the malicious poison and what’s happening on social media so often it’s just malicious. And this comes as I think you said in your opening statement from across the political spectrum,” Johnson said. “Let me ask you a question, if somebody came up to you privately, quietly, and said ‘you’re a racist. You’re a white supremacist. You’re a white nationalist.'”
“By the way, I do not believe you are, I would never assume that because certainly growing up when I was being taught the commandment that says, ‘Do not bear false witness,’ my Lutheran catechism says, ‘always put the best construction on things,'” Johnson continued. “In other words, always assume the best about people, not the worst. So, how would you feel [if] somebody, just privately, called you a racist?”
Lipstadt replied that her criticisms do not “ascribe to the person.” Johnson, referring to her tweet, said she falsely testified to Congress regarding her criticisms by evidently engaging in the “malicious poison.” (RELATED: ‘The Left Is Happy To Use The Race Card’: Sen. Ron Johnson Pushes Back On Claims His Capitol Riot Comments Were ‘Racist’)
“But that’s not true,” Johnson said. “What you just testified there is false. Because not only did you go on—first of all, you don’t know me. You don’t know a lot of the people that you have accused online in front of millions of people. You have engaged in the malicious poison. You’ve accused people you don’t know, a very vile thing. I mean wouldn’t you agree that probably calling somebody a racist is just a shot under murderer and rapist.”
“Calling somebody a racist is about as serious and vile an accusation as you can hurt over something against somebody you don’t even know. You’ve never talked to me. You’ve never met me. You don’t know what’s in my heart, do you?” he continued.
“No, I do not know what’s in your heart at all… As I said earlier, it was not nuanced,” Lipstadt said. “I would not do diplomacy by tweet. While I may disagree with what you said specifically and I think that’s a legitimate difference, I certainly did not mean it and I’m sorry if I made it in a way that it could be assumed to be political at the person personally.”
The senator said her “malicious poison” is partisan, though an individual holding the position is not supposed to take partisan stances. Though he accepted her apology, Johnson said he cannot support her nomination on the grounds that she “ought to know better” than to make those kinds of accusations publicly.