Johnson Responds to Criticism over Black Lives Matter Comments

By Will Kenneally

March 15, 2021

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Ron Johnson

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, takes questions from a reporter at the World Dairy Expo in Madison Oct. 1, 2019.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson responded Monday to criticism he received for comments he made last week favorably comparing the Jan. 6 insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol in contrast to Black Lives Matter protesters, saying his remarks had nothing to do with race.

Johnson spoke of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last Thursday on the conservative radio program The Joe Pags Show, saying he would have feared for his safety if the insurrectionists were associated with Black Lives Matter — but did not because the pro-Trump supporters that did storm the Capitol “love this country.”

“I knew those were people who love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned,” Johnson said.

“Now, had the tables been turned, and Joe — this is going to get me in trouble — had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa, I might have been a little concerned,” he added.

Johnson said Monday, during a segment on the conservative Dan O’Donnell radio show, that his comments were not race-related because many Black Lives Matter protesters were white.

Johnson has been critical of the response to the January insurrection, including during a February Senate hearing in which he indicated that the Jan. 6 attack could have been carried out by fake Trump supporters — a claim which has not been borne out by facts.

Johnson’s latest comments came the same week another member of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation took heat for remarks about Black Lives Matter.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said during floor debate on the pandemic relief bill that Black Lives Matter supporters do not like “the old-fashioned family.”

“I know the strength that Black Lives Matter had in this last election. I know it’s a group that doesn’t like the old-fashioned family,” he said.

Grothman stood by his comments in an interview with Green Bay TV station WLUK, saying that the founders of Black Lives Matter are “Marxist” and against a “Western-prescribed nuclear family.”

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