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Sen. Ron Johnson: Riot Was Not an 'Insurrection'

'This didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me,' says Wisconsin senator
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2021 6:47 AM CST

(Newser) – Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson is striking a new theme about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot: It was bad, but nowhere near as bad as Democrats say. The staunch Trump supporter accused Democrats of presenting "highly selectively edited" videos during the impeachment trial to exaggerate the threat, reports the Hill. Details:

  • “This didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me,” Johnson told a conservative talk show on WISN, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “When you hear the word ‘armed,’ don’t you think of firearms? Here’s the questions would have liked to ask: How many firearms were confiscated? How many shots were fired? I’m only aware of one and I’ll defend that law enforcement officer for taking that shot. It was a tragedy, OK? But I think there was only one."
  • “If that was a planned armed insurrection, man, you had really a bunch of idiots," he added. The term Johnson used was "breach."

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  • Johnson struck a similar theme on WTAQ, per the Washington Post. “To call that an armed insurrection, it was the most pitiful armed insurrection anyone could possibly imagine."
  • NBC News previously reported that police recovered a dozen guns and thousands of rounds of ammo from seven people arrested before and after the riot. For example, Alabama resident Lonnie Coffman had multiple guns, Molotov cocktails, a crossbow, and more in his truck, say federal prosecutors. From the AP coverage of Johnson's comments: "Law enforcement officials have said in court filings that guns, bombs and other weapons were found on people who stormed the Capitol, in their vehicles and elsewhere. The insurrectionists also used flag poles, stolen police shields, crutches, fire extinguishers, sticks and other objects to attack police officers and force entry into the Capitol." Videos played during the trial showed rioters calling for Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence inside the Capitol.
  • One of the rioters was photographed with plastic zip ties, but Johnson downplayed that. “That one guy in the Senate chamber had plastic wrist ties. What was he supposed to do, go up to Mike Pence and capture him? It’s absurd."
  • “The racial slurs, the attack on police officers, the injuries and the loss of life, no one condones that," said Johnson. "We all condemn that." But he said most of the Trump supporters in DC on Jan. 6 remained peaceful. He also faulted Mitch McConnell over the minority leader's Trump criticism. "I would like to see Leader McConnell zip his lips," he said on WTAQ. "This is not helpful."
(Read more Ron Johnson stories.)

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