Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., described the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 as people who “truly respect law enforcement” and “loved this country” in a radio interview Friday and expressed worry if the mob had been Black Lives Matter protesters or Antifa members.
Johnson said he "never felt threatened" as thousands of rioters broke through barricades, forcing Congress to evacuate parts of the building and abruptly pause a ceremonial event affirming that President-elect Joe Biden won the November election. In one dramatic moment, police officers drew guns as rioters tried to break into the House chamber. The day left several dead, including a police officer, and more than 100 other officers injured.
“And mainly because I knew that even though those thousands of people that were marching the Capitol were trying to pressure people like me to vote the way they wanted me to vote, I knew those were people that loved this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law, and so I wasn’t concerned," Johnson told The Joe Pags Show, which airs nationally from WOAI in San Antonio, Texas.
"Now had the tables been turned, now Joe this will 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.”
His comments to the radio show host ricocheted across social media, with some calling it racist. The pro-Trump mob was largely white and terrorized reporters, police and lawmakers. However, this isn’t Johnson’s first eyebrow-raising comment on the Jan. 6 attack. Others also noted the heavy police presence and response last summer when Black Lives Matter organizers protested against police brutality.
Johnson, a staunch Trump supporter, has recently been given the nickname "RonAnon" - based on the convoluted and baseless QAnon conspiracies - for spreading conspiracy theories about the attack.
In February, after the Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump for inciting the riot in his second impeachment trial, he told another conservative radio talk show that the Jan. 6 attack "didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me.” He also slammed the impeachment trial at the time as “vindictive and divisive” and claimed it was a “diversionary operation” by Democrats to distract from security lapses at the U.S. Capitol.