The senator made the claim as he spread further misinformation and questioned the severity of the US Capitol insurrection.
US Sen. Ron Johnson on Thursday said he’s still undecided on whether he’ll run for a third Senate term in the 2022 midterm election, continued to push conspiracy theories related to unproven COVID-19 treatments and the 2020 election, and again downplayed the deadly Jan. 6 US Capitol insurrection.
“I’m not trying to make headlines,” Johnson claimed during a virtual luncheon hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club and WisPolitics.com. “I’m just trying to really reveal information that I think the American people need.”
The two-term Republican senator from Wisconsin has become a focal point of national news reports due to his dedication to spreading blatant lies about some of the largest crises of the time and his nonchalant approach to being a target of a Russian disinformation campaign.
Regarding vaccines, Johnson said he’s “not in a position” to recommend people to get the shot because he’s not a doctor. But he made that comment immediately after advocating for use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as treatments for COVID-19; both of those drugs are unproven for treating the virus.
Five people died and more than 150 police officers were injured in the US Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 as supporters of former President Donald Trump, stoked by conspiracists like Trump and Johnson, attempted to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. Yet Johnson claimed “the portrayal of Jan. 6 has been highly biased. I don’t think it’s been particularly accurate.” He previously said he “might have been a little concerned” if the insurrectionists had been Black Lives Matter demonstrators rather than Trump supporters.
Despite the strife caused by 2020 election conspiracies, Johnson continued to voice support for baseless investigations into alleged election “irregularities.” Those allegations have been elevated to the national discourse by Republicans who hope to use them as an excuse to pass restrictive voter laws under the guise of election integrity.
“We do need to take a look into the irregularities of the 2020 election so we can restore confidence,” Johnson said, not acknowledging his own role in decreasing confidence in the nation’s electoral system.
If he runs for a third Senate term, Johnson faces competition from a growing field of Democratic challengers. When he first ran for Senate, he promised to only serve two terms, but he has publicly wavered from that promise.
“When I made that pledge, I meant that pledge.… I ran in 2010 because I panicked for this nation. I’m more panicked today,” Johnson said.
He said doesn’t “feel any pressure to make [the decision] really any time soon.”