Trick-or-treat?! Sadly, none of these comments were meant as “tricks.”
It’s a spooky time of year, but Republican Sen. Ron Johnson doesn’t reserve frightening remarks just for the month of October.
These are 13 of the scariest things he’s said as Wisconsin’s senior senator:
About not seeking a third term…
“I don’t conduct myself worrying about re-election. When re-election is not your primary motivation, those are easy promises to keep–and I have faithfully done so.” January 2022
FACT CHECK: In October 2016, Johnson said he would step down at the end of his second term if re-elected. Promise made, promise broken.
About abortion access…
“It might be a little messy for some people, but abortion is not going away.” May 2022
FACT CHECK: It’s not “a little messy”; abortion bans are deadly. More than 22,000 women and girls die each year after having an unsafe abortion, according to Doctors without Borders.
“The fact of the matter is, if you don’t like the result in the state you currently reside, you can move. You have that freedom in America, which is a good thing.” May 2019
FACT CHECK: With Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban back in effect since June, Wisconsin women have had to travel up to six hours to neighboring states for safe, legal abortions, which disproportionately impacts women of color and those from low-income households.
About January 6th…
“This didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me. I mean ‘armed,’ when you hear ‘armed,’ don’t you think of firearms?” February 2021
FACT CHECK: Capitol police recovered thousands of rounds of ammunition from seven people who were arrested over their involvement in the insurrection that killed five people.
“I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement and would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned.” March 2021
FACT CHECK: At least 2,000 violent protesters forced their way into the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. In addition to five deaths, 140 police officers were injured that day, according to the Dept. of Justice.
About climate change…
“I don’t know about you guys, but I think climate change is–as Lord Monckton said–bullshit.” June 2021
FACT CHECK: Monckton is a climate change skeptic whose theories have been repeatedly debunked by facts, like these from the brightest minds at NASA: the past seven years have been the warmest ever, the sea level has risen eight inches in the past 100 years, and Antarctica continues to lose 148 billion tons of ice a year.
“I am not a climate change denier, but I also am not a climate change alarmist. Climate has always changed and always will change.” July 2021
FACT CHECK: While Earth’s climate has changed throughout its history, the current warming is different because it is clearly the result of human activities since the mid-1800s and is worsening at a rate never seen in recent millennia; in fact, the earth is currently warming roughly 10 times faster than the average rate of warming after an ice age.
“The top 1% owns about 20% of the nation’s assets, but they pay 40% of the nation’s income tax. I mean, at some point in time, we got to go, ‘Well, it’s probably pretty close to a fair share.’” October 2021
FACT CHECK: The 25 richest Americans paid a true tax rate of just 3.4%, according to a 2021 review of IRS records. The report also revealed many billionaires were paying less taxes than a person who makes $45,000/year.
“As someone who spent 31 years building a successful manufacturing company in Wisconsin, I have long said that our tax system needs to be simplified and rationalized.” August 2021
FACT CHECK: Much of Johnson’s business “success” is tied to family connections and China. It’s a long story. Click here for a breakdown.
About Social Security and Medicare…
“These things are Ponzi schemes; the money isn’t there. You invest it–whether it’s Social Security or whatever–and the federal government spends it. There isn’t money. There aren’t assets backing up these trust funds.” November 2021
FACT CHECK: Johnson has been making this claim as far back as his first campaign in 2010 and as recently as this month. The pledge to fund Social Security is backed by the full faith and credit of the US government.
“What’s mandatory are things like Social Security and Medicare. If you qualify for the entitlement, you just get it no matter what the cost. What we ought to be doing is we ought to turn everything into discretionary spending so that it’s all evaluated.” August 2022
FACT CHECK: Discretionary spending means programs are put up for annual approval from Congress. More than 65 million people, or one in every six Americans, rely on Social Security benefits as their primary source of income.
“Fauci did the exact same thing with AIDS. He overhyped it. He created all kinds of fear, saying it could affect the entire population when it couldn’t. He’s using the exact same playbook with COVID, ignoring therapy, pushing a vaccine.” December 2021
FACT CHECK: COVID has killed more than one million Americans since the pandemic started nearly three years ago. The numbers for AIDS are even worse; HIV/AIDS has killed nearly 38 million people around the world.
“We all hoped and prayed the vaccines would be 100% effective, 100% safe, but they’re not. So what’s the point?” December 2021
FACT CHECK: Vaccinations have been proven to greatly reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. They are free, safe, and effective. Click here to get an initial or booster dose today.
READ MORE: Why Wisconsin’s Senate Race May Be the Most Important in the Country