GOP Senator's Remarks on Capitol Riot Draw Cries of Racism

Ron Johnson said he wasn't scared during attack because rioters weren't BLM, antifa
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2021 8:30 AM CST
Sen. Johnson: I Wasn't Scared in Capitol Riot Because It Wasn't BLM
Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., listens during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 25, 2021.   (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

On a radio program Thursday, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson says he wasn't scared during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 that left five dead, but his reasoning for why he wasn't in fear as supporters of former President Trump stormed the building has led to accusations of racism and prompted calls for him to resign. CNN reports his most recent remarks on the matter came Thursday during The Joe Pags Show, when he revealed he "wasn't concerned" and "never really felt threatened" as rioters rushed the Capitol. "Even though those thousands of people that were marching to the Capitol were trying to pressure people like me to vote the way they wanted me to vote, I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law," he said, not acknowledging that more than 300 people have since been charged for actions that day, which included violence such as police officers being assaulted.

Johnson continued: "Now, had the tables been turned—Joe, this could 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." The outcry over Johnson's remarks came swiftly. "What, white people love this country and Black people don't? That's exactly what he's saying," Wisconsin state Sen. LaTonya Johnson (no relation) tells the Journal Sentinel. Jessica Floyd, head of the American Bridge Democratic super PAC, wants Johnson to resign, calling his comments "racist and unacceptable." "Apparently for Ron Johnson, simply being Black is a bigger offense than launching a violent insurrection," she says, per the Hill. Johnson tried to defend his remarks to the outlet by citing a report showing 570 protests last summer turned violent. The Hill notes those only made up 5% of the protests, which were overwhelmingly peaceful. (Read more Ron Johnson stories.)

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