Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said in a recent interview that he “wasn’t concerned” about what ultimately amounted to a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by a pro-Trump mob, but would have been concerned had those storming the Capitol been affiliated with a movement for racial justice known as Black Lives Matter.
“Even though those thousands of people that were marching to the Capitol were trying to pressure people like me to vote the way they wanted me to vote, I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, and so I wasn’t concerned,” Johnson said in a Thursday interview with conservative radio host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo.
“Now, had the tables been turned — Joe, this could get me in trouble — had the tables been turned, and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned,” he added.
The comments came after earlier in the interview, the Wisconsin lawmaker had doubled down remarks he made last month that undermined the danger of the events on Jan. 6, saying he didn’t believe the attack was “an armed insurrection.”
“I think it was a crowd of people with certain agitators that turned a small percentage of that crowd into a mob that stormed the Capitol and I condemn that,” Johnson said.
Pagliarulo quickly invoked two favored punching bags among conservatives, by saying that “Black Lives Matter and Antifa are always taking over cities and burning things down and starting trouble.”
“Antifa and Black Lives Matter clearly are violent when they show up somewhere,” Pagliarulo said.
The comments from both men are emblematic of a broad effort by conservatives to draw a false equivalency between the Capitol attack and the social unrest that took place amid a racial justice movement over the summer.
Johnson has also previously advanced the falsehood that professional provocateurs had been mixed among the mob at the Capitol.
FBI Director Chris Wray debunked right-wing conspiracy theories surrounding the attack in congressional testimony earlier this month, saying his agency has found no evidence that Antifa or fake Trump supporters were involved in the attack.