Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) found himself the focus of scathing segments on cable news shows Tuesday following his baseless claim in a hearing about the U.S. Capitol riot that anti-Trump provocateurs — and not supporters of ex-President Donald Trump — were behind the violence.
CNN’s Erin Burnett called out Johnson’s conspiracy theory ― which he sourced from a right-wing blog post ― as “deranged” and an outright lie.
“There is no conspiracy theory he won’t peddle to defend Trump,” said Burnett.
“Fake Trump protesters, agent provocateurs,” she continued. “This is not true. It is a lie. The riot was led by Trump supporters, supporters that were repeating Trump’s call to action in the halls of the Capitol.”
“Look, it is absolutely ridiculous that Johnson said what he said,” Burnett added.
Maddow, meanwhile, got sarcastic with her criticism of Johnson’s claim.
“You see, all the people who committed all the violence that day? They were faking being Trump supporters when they really weren’t,” she snarked. “It was secretly anti-Trump people who dressed up as pro-Trump people.”
“It was like an elaborate holiday pageant. Yes,” she continued. “Everything was all very festive, as Sen. Johnson described it, until these anti-Trump provocateurs in costume started a riot.”
“This was not like a guy heckling the hearing today,” Maddow pointed out. “Ron Johnson was actually the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee when Republicans were in the majority.”