Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Monday that he was opposed to presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s renewed call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
During an interview with talk radio host Jerry Bader, Johnson said he feels that the root of this weekend’s terror attack in Orlando—the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history—and others is radical interpretations of Islam. But he said a ban on people of Muslim faith is the opposite of what the country should be doing.
“The best way to prevent the homegrown-inspired attacks is literally positive engagement with Muslim communities,” Johnson said, as quoted by the Journal Sentinel. “Making sure that any immigrant population that comes into America assimilates, becomes part of our culture. That has been our history, it has made us strong.”
Johnson said that in order to eliminate “lone-wolf”-style threats, in which terrorists are radicalized online or through messaging from a group then commit an act on their own in the name of that group, the United States must “defeat the messenger.” He added that if ISIS continues to control land, “they’re going to be perceived as winning, they’re going to continue to inspire these types of attacks.”
Bader also asked why Johnson’s statement following the attacks did not mention the LGBT community, according to the Milwaukee Journal. Johnson said all that mattered was that the victims were Americans, but he also was quick to call it a hate crime.
“When you slaughter Americans, I don’t care what their background is, every American citizen has a constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Johnson said according to the paper. “This is a hate crime. This is murder.”
Johnson’s tone in regards to the massacre was markedly different from that of Trump’s, who, in addition to calling again for a ban on Muslim immigration, insinuated President Obama is secretly involved with Muslim terrorists and took credit for anticipating the attack.
Still, Johnson has pledged to support the Republican nominee in the general election, acknowledging that it will likely be Trump. He is currently locked in a tough re-election battle against former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI).