Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) continued to push lies about the Capitol insurrection on January 6th by tripling down on the right-wing claim that fake Trump supporters committed the attempted coup to frame the real Trump supporters.
During a Senate hearing earlier this month, Johnson quoted from a right-wing article claiming that “fake Trump supporters presumed to be Antifa or other leftist agitators” were the ones who violently stormed the Capitol to make real Trump supporters look bad.
The “mood of the crowd was positive and festive,” Johnson claimed, and “represented a broad cross-section of America. Some people stood out. A very few didn’t share the jovial friendly demeanor of the great majority — some obviously didn’t fit in.”
However, the FBI has investigated this claim and found no evidence of Antifa involvement.
Antifa, or anti-fascists, are often scapegoated by conservatives. But they would have had no real interest in overthrowing democracy so that disgraced former President Donald Trump, a wannabe fascist dictator, could stay in power. Trump supporters, however, certainly did have such an interest and did attempt a coup at the Capitol for that very reason.
Johnson would go on to claim that the insurrection was not an insurrection and that the Trump supporters were unarmed.
“The fact of the matter is this didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me,” Johnson said during a radio appearance. “I mean armed, when you hear armed, don’t you think of firearms? Here’s the questions I would have liked to ask. How many firearms were confiscated? How many shots were fired? I’m only aware of one, and I’ll defend that law enforcement officer for taking that shot.”
Politifact has since debunked Johnson’s claim:
“Many in the crowd attacking the Capitol have said their intent was to stop the vote confirmation and keep Trump in office despite the election results. That’s an insurrection,” the fact-checker noted before also pointing out that many insurrectionists carried firearms at the rally. They also had thousands of rounds of ammunition, pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, knives, stun guns, and brass knuckles. This was absolutely an armed insurrection, and the insurrectionists intended to assassinate lawmakers.
Johnson’s remarks have faced wide backlash, but he’s still repeating and defending them. When asked about his lies by the New York Times, Johnson did just that.
“I’m not questioning his veracity,” Johnson said in reference to the right-wing writer he quoted. “I believe he’s probably telling the truth. That’s what he saw. I’m not agreeing with any conclusions. I’m not sure he’s really making too many conclusions, other than he concluded he saw four individual types of groups that stood out from the crowd. It might be a flawed part of the evidence, but why exclude it? Just because it doesn’t necessarily tie into whatever narrative somebody else wants to tell about the day? I’m not interested in the narratives, I’m interested in the truth.”
Again, there is zero evidence supporting these claims. The FBI has made that clear and countless hours of video footage, witness accounts, and police reports confirm this was an armed insurrection committed by Trump’s loyal supporters, including right-wing militia groups such as the Proud Boys. This is indisputable no matter how hard Johnson tries to distort the truth. And he should be forced to resign over it.
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