Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) faced backlash and accusations of gaslighting after he downplayed the deadly U.S. Capitol riot and questioned its description as an armed insurrection.
But Johnson claimed he didn’t feel threatened at any point.
“This didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me,” the Trump ally said.
Listen to Johnson’s comments from the 14:30 mark here:
“When you think or hear of ‘armed,’ don’t you think of firearms?” Johnson asked.
“Here’s the questions I would have liked to ask: How many firearms were confiscated? How many shots were fired?” the Wisconsin Republican continued. “I’m only aware of one, and I’ll defend that law enforcement officer for taking that shot. It was a tragedy, OK, but I think there was only one. You know, if that was a planned armed insurrection, man, you had really a bunch of idiots.”
Court records, however, show the pro-Trump rioters brought various kinds of guns, ammunition and other items to be used as weapons into the Capitol.
Later in the interview, Johnson recalled “sitting back in my office watching video of the ‘armed insurrectionists’ staying within the lines inside the Capitol.”
“They’re not even venturing outside of the roped areas. I’m seeing a bunch of people milling about,” he claimed.
Critics accused Johnson of trying to rewrite the narrative around the riot.
“Is that the game plan? Is that where they end up after this is all over? Pretending this did not happen?” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked on Tuesday’s broadcast of “Morning Joe.”
“We have the video of police officers being beaten, some within inches of their lives, beaten with an American flag,” Scarborough continued. “We have the stories of the law enforcement officers lying on the ground while Trump terrorists were beating them, and them thinking to themselves that they had four children and wondering if they would ever see their children again.”