Is Senator Ron Johnson OK?

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-WI, speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

By Joe Zepecki

May 5, 2022

Running for political office is stressful. Running for a third term in the United States Senate after breaking a promise to your state that you’d only seek two terms must be next level stressful. 

Which is to say, to the extent we can, we get it.  And everyone should be willing and able to forgive the occasional slip of the tongue or honest mistake by a politician no matter their, or your, political affiliation. 

However, the string of jaw-dropping statements that Wisconsin’s Republican Sen. Ron Johnson went on this week is no such ‘slip’ or ‘honest mistake.’ If you missed them while lamenting news from the US Supreme Court this week, odds are that you are not alone.

Before we run through them, remember two things. First, each of these statements is consistent with Johnson’s record and past statements. Second, each of these doozies come from his own words.

  1. Johnson implied miracle COVID-19 vaccines may cause AIDS (they don’t)
  • A frequent source of dis- and misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, Johnson took his anti-vaccine rhetoric to a “weird new place” in his response to a lawyer’s assertion that COVID vaccines are giving Americans AIDS.
  1. Johnson reiterated support for making almost all abortions in Wisconsin illegal this year
  • After reporting that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade in its entirety in the coming months, Johnson was quick to jump in and state that he would “agree with that outcome” despite the fact that Wisconsin would immediately revert back to an 1849 law that criminalizes abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
  1. Johnson said Obamacare protected people with pre-existing conditions “stupidly”
  • In a tele-townhall meeting with Wisconsin voters, Johnson once again expressed his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, called for replacing the landmark law commonly known as “Obamacare” with a return to the days of high risk pools that don’t work, and said the consumer protection that ensures health insurance companies cannot discriminate against Americans with pre-existing conditions was decided “stupidly.”

This has been a hard, wild, and crazy week. Which makes it easy to want to tune out.

Choose instead to engage. Make sure your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues know how much is at stake in this year’s elections on all of these issues that matter. 

Because right now, Johnson is in a position to influence all of them; from the public health response to the pandemic to the freedom to access healthcare, and this week he reminded us just how out of touch he is on all of these issues.


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