Skip to Content

Sen. Johnson defends saying Jan. 6 crowd less threatening than Black Lives Matter protesters

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

MADISON (WKOW) -- In an interview with 27 News, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said he did not understand the outrage from Democrats and Black lawmakers over his previous statement he would have been more worried for his safety had it been a Black Lives Matter crowd at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

State Representative LaKeshia Myers (D-Milwaukee) said Wednesday she found it troubling enough Johnson did not believe he was in any serious danger when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington D.C. as Congress tried to certify the 2020 presidential election.

"I worked in the U.S. Capitol. I worked for several members of Congress on the House side and the Senate," Myers said. "I know how difficult it is to breach the Capitol."

Johnson told The Joe Pags Show last Friday, "Had the tables been turned and President Donald Trump won the election and those were thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters I would have been concerned."

Johnson told 27 News he was defending a peaceful majority of Trump supporters who were in Washington but did not enter the Capitol on January 6.

"By and large, they were people that respect law enforcement, that would never even think of rioting or breaking the law and that's just the point I've been trying to make." Johnson said. "I've been trying to push back on the broad brush that 74 million Americans are somehow suspected terrorists."

Johnson did not cite any examples of mainstream political or media figures who suggested all supporters of the former president were insurrectionists.

As for why he would have felt a greater sense of danger had the January 6 crowd been left-wing demonstrators, Johnson rereferred to report from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) that found about 570, or 5 percent, of last summer's racial justice and police accountability protests turned violent, including riots in Madison and Kenosha.

"I was comparing the level of destruction in 570 riots versus the one Capitol breach, which I also condemned," Johnson said. "I condemn all rioters, all violence."

Johnson disagreed with the notion attempting to stop a transition of power was a more serious offense than many of the riots in American cities over the summer, which were roundly condemned by Democrats.

"I'm not gonna start getting in here from a relative standpoint, other than sheer numbers," Johnson said. "We had one Capitol breach and one riot at the Capitol, again shameful, I condemn it."

The riot at the Capitol was far from the only incident of right-wing violence in recent years. The ACLED released a report last fall stating right-wing militia groups "pose a serious threat to the safety and security of American voters."

"The fact he said he was more comfortable[around the January 6 crowd]? I believe that. I believe it," Myers said. "And he spoke his truth because he looked at the crowd and said 'oh, I agree with them, they're not here for me.'"

Author Profile Photo

A. J. Bayatpour

Reporter, WKOW 27

Skip to content