Sen. Ron Johnson insisted this week there was nothing “racial” about his comments on Black Lives Matter protesters and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and in an op-ed published Tuesday, acknowledged his statements would get him “in trouble” because he was challenging the “left’s false narratives.”
The Wisconsin Republican wrote in a Wall Street Journal piece headlined “I Will Not be Silenced by the Left,” that he “had no idea they would so thoroughly twist my words and reflexively play the race card.”
He recalled the protests over the summer in cities across the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
“Their politics, together with their taste for violence — so different from the Trump supporters I know personally or the Trump rallies we all saw carried out peacefully — should concern us,” he wrote.
He went on to blame the media for distorting his remarks about Black Lives Matter protesters.
“Most reporters today put advocacy above journalism. Instead of conducting interviews with conservatives, they conduct arguments. They push their political viewpoints and are willing to lie, twist, distort, omit, censor and cancel anything or anyone with an opposing view. They are oblivious to the harm they are doing,” he wrote in the op-ed.
“All who value liberty and free speech must push back,” he said.
The Wisconsin Republican sparked controversy last week on Joe Pagliarulo’s radio show when he said he wasn’t concerned about his safety during the Capitol riot because the crowd of supporters of former President Donald Trump were “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement.”
He continued: “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 those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.”
Democrats claimed the comments were racist.
Johnson told reporters on Monday that there was “nothing racial about my comments.”
“This isn’t about race, this is about riots,” he said.
“I have been attacked and criticized because I pushed back on the narrative that there were thousands of armed insurrectionists, and that’s just a small part of the 74 million Americans that voted for President Trump that also need to be suspect of being potential domestic terrorists or also potentially armed insurrectionists. This is a false narrative, and so the few of us that push back on that we get mercilessly attacked,” he said.
More than 140 law enforcement officers were injured in the riot on Jan. 6, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day after being attacked.
Two men were arrested by federal authorities over the weekend for assaulting him.
The riot happened as a joint-session of Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote for President Biden.