Johnson releases a timeline listing the ways he has opposed investigations into a siege he continues to downplay.
Republicans who represent Wisconsin in Congress are spending the first anniversary of the attack on the US Capitol expressing more concern about the welfare of the insurrectionists than of the investigation into the assault, the cause of death of a Capitol Police officer, or the need to protect free and fair elections.
Republican US Sen. Ron Johnson went so far as to release a timeline, reported by WKOW-TV, of the many ways he has cast doubt on the actions of those who tried to protect him and other members of Congress—including a vote against an independent examination of the day’s events. He has cast doubt on whether actual supporters of former President Donald Trump committed the atrocities. And Johnson “raised questions” about whether Officer Brian Sicknick, who died of two strokes the day after the attack in what is considered a line-of-duty passing, died of natural causes directly related to the attack. Earlier, Johnson said he felt no fear of personal danger during the riot.
While the Capitol grounds were still fresh with smoke, debris, and blood, Reps. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) voted in the aftermath of the assault to reject the certified vote counts from two states and indicated they were prepared to reject the voices of Wisconsin voters as well. Tiffany also signed onto a brief supporting a Texas lawsuit that unsuccessfully tried to overturn Wisconsin’s election results while falsely claiming that “hundreds of thousands of illegal votes” had been cast.
As noted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) expressed concern about the treatment of rioters who’ve been jailed in the past year. He sent a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland in October expressing “a feeling people are maybe hiding things” with no evidence to support it.
All of the state’s congressional Republicans voted against impeaching Trump for his role in the coup attempt, voted against establishing an independent commission to investigate the siege, and later voted to oust Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming from her leadership post in the House Republican caucus for speaking out against Trump’s continued encouragement of undermining or even overturning US elections.
Democrats, meanwhile, spent the anniversary holding solemn remembrances honoring the lives lost and the valor of those who worked to protect the seat of government—especially the 140 officers of the US Capitol Police and Washington, DC’s Metropolitan Police Dept. who suffered injuries including broken bones, burns, concussions, and stun gun and stab wounds.
“We must never forget this dark day in our nation’s history,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin in a floor speech.
US Rep. Gwen Moore of Milwaukee called the anniversary “a sobering reminder that the attack on democracy is still happening from within.”
US Rep. Mark Pocan of Dane County bluntly criticized many of his “colleagues on the other side of the aisle [who] deny that their cult leader was responsible.”
“This isn’t a Democratic or a Republican issue. It is an issue of respecting and defending the fundamental values that our country was founded on,” said US Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. “It is an issue of patriotism. It’s about honoring those who have died upholding our sacred institutions.”
US Senate candidate and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson wrote a letter to the congressional panel investigating the insurrection, asking members to subpoena Sen. Johnson for “records relating to his efforts to delay and disrupt the results of the election; his contacts with any groups or individuals with ties to domestic terrorism before, during, and after the attack; his coordination with the Trump White House advancing the disinformation campaign that led to the attack on the US Capitol; and his continued and persistent advocacy of election disinformation.”
State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, also a candidate for US Senate, said in a statement, “One year later, Ron Johnson and the GOP continue to gaslight the American public about this domestic terrorist attack. And now, they’re actively—and openly—working to find new, insidious ways to take over our elections and subvert democracy.”
A tweet from Wausau physician and Senate candidate Gillian Battino said, “One year ago, Senator Ron Johnson sided with far-right extremists when he promoted the Big Lie and voted to decertify the 2020 election. Wisconsin voters will not forget this on November 8th.”
And Senate candidate Alex Lasry, a Milwaukee Bucks executive, said that the insurrection requires reforms that he’s proposing that include ending the Senate filibuster, expanding automatic voter registration, and passing new voting rights acts.
“A year ago, our country witnessed something unprecedented: a sitting President and his followers tried to stop the peaceful transfer of power,” said Lasry. “We need an electoral system where every citizen has confidence that their vote matters.”