Mar 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Ron Johnson: If Capitol mob had been BLM, Antifa "I might have been a little concerned"

Sen. Ron Johnson speaking in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on March 4.
Sen. Ron Johnson speaking in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on March 4. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) said in an interview on The Joe Pags show that he didn't feel threatened during the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, but if Black Lives Matter protesters or members or Antifa had stormed Congress instead of Trump supporters, he would have been "a little concerned."

Why it matters: Johnson, who promoted false claims of widespread election fraud in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, has repeatedly sought to downplay the severity of the riot, which left five people dead.

What they're saying "Even though those thousands of people were marching on 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, so I wasn’t concerned," Johnson said Thursday on the radio show.

  • “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.”

Yes, but: Hundreds of people who marched on Jan. 6 have since been arrested and charged for their actions during the insurrection.

Johnson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he made the comment because of the protests throughout last summer that followed the death of George Floyd while in the custody of a Minneapolis police officer.

  • "That’s why I would have been more concerned," Johnson said in a statement to the Journal Sentinel, adding that 25 people died during Black Lives Matter demonstrations over Floyd's death.
  • The nonprofit Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project found that of the 25 people whose deaths were related to protests or political unrest last summer, nine were BLM demonstrators and two were conservatives killed after pro-Trump rallies.

The big picture: Johnson said last month that the riot "didn't seem like an armed insurrection to me," even though the Justice Department is charging at least 14 people with bringing deadly weapons onto Capitol grounds.

  • The Capitol Police also recovered a dozen guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition, though it is unknown how many firearms were brought into the Capitol, according to an NBC News report.
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