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Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) called comments by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) "racist" on the Senate floor Tuesday evening, after Johnson told a radio show that he would have been more afraid of the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters if they had been Black Lives Matter protestors or antifa.

Why it matters: Menendez himself acknowledged that the speech broke with Senate decorum, noting that "we often twist ourselves into pretzels to avoid saying anything that might be interpreted as a criticism of another senator."

Catch up quick: Johnson said on a radio talk show last week that he was not afraid during the Jan. 6 pro-Trump Capitol insurrection because he felt the rioters were people who "truly respect law enforcement."

  • “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," Johnson said.
  • Five people died as a result of the Capitol attacks, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after being assaulted by rioters.

What they're saying: "Look, I get no one likes to be called racist, but sometimes there's just no other way to describe the use of bigoted tropes that for generations have threatened Black lives by stoking white fear of African Americans and Black men in particular," Menendez said.

  • "I don't think the senator is ignorant of the fact that for centuries in this country white supremacy has thrived on using fear to justify oppression, discrimination and violence against people of color," he continued.
  • "I do, however, think my colleague may be ignorant of the pain caused by his comments and unaware of how they compound the trauma that so many still feel in the wake of the events of Jan. 6."

Between the lines: Many comparisons have been drawn between how law enforcement responded to 2020's Black Lives Matter protests vs. how they responded to the Capitol riots.

  • William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, told the Senate earlier this month that he received "immediate approval" to deploy forces during Black Lives Matter protests last summer, but faced delays in getting approval on Jan. 6.

Johnson has continued to defend his remarks, per NBC News, stating, "This isn't about race. It's about riots."

Go deeper

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over deportation of migrants and asylum-seekers

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.

First-time homebuyers shrink as prices spike

Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

Home sales cooled as prices continued to heat up in August.

Driving the news: The share of first-time existing homebuyers (29%) last month was the smallest in two years, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Airbnb co-founders double Afghan refugee program to 40,000

Afghan refugees arriving at Dulles International Airport in Virginia in August 2021. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and co-founder Joe Gebbia said during a visit to Washington on Wednesday that they're offering temporary housing to 40,000 Afghan refugees worldwide, doubling a previous commitment.

The big picture: The housing typically lasts several weeks, and Airbnb and Airbnb.org provide subsidies to hosts. Hosts and donors also help pay.