MILWAUKEE — Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., distanced his campaign from former President Donald Trump on Tuesday, sidestepping questions about whether he would invite Trump to stump for him this fall.
“To me, this election is about Wisconsin and about 2022. And so from my standpoint, I’ve never asked for anybody’s endorsement. I’m happy to have people’s endorsement, obviously I want as much support as possible,” Johnson told reporters after an immigration event, not referring to Trump by name. “But I’m running as the candidate and I’m trying to appeal to as many Wisconsin voters as possible so we recognize that under Democrat [sic] control, this has been a disaster.”
Earlier this month, Johnson skipped a Wisconsin rally Trump held in Waukesha to back the GOP’s now-gubernatorial nominee Tim Michels. The longtime Trump supporter said he only skipped the rally because he did not want to take sides in the competitive gubernatorial primary.
In the most recent Marquette Law School poll, Johnson’s opponent, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, led the senator by two points, which was within the margin of error. In that same June Marquette poll, 56% of respondents held an unfavorable view of Trump.
Separately, Johnson called the search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate “a highly partisan act” and derided the FBI, which he said needs to be investigated.
Johnson supported a contention put forth by Trump allies that as chief executive, the president held his own authority to declassify documents.
“I don’t trust the FBI,” Johnson said. “They hold all the cards, they’ve shown and proven themselves to be untrustworthy.”
Asked if he joined others in his party who have called for defunding the FBI, Johnson said, “No, not at this point. But they need to be fully investigated.