Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) might be flip–flopping all over the place as he courts mainstream and far-right Republican voters in his desperate bid for reelection, but there’s at least one position that’s remained consistent for the Wisconsin senator: The Jan. 6 Capitol attack was NBD because the insurrectionists weren’t armed when they stormed the building.
Johnson regurgitated that talking point to downplay Jan. 6 yet again during a Q&A at the Rotary Club of Milwaukee on Tuesday.
“Now, some of the protesters did teach us all how you can use flagpoles, that kind of stuff, as weapons,” the GOP senator quipped.
“But to call what happened on January 6 an armed insurrection … I just think it’s not accurate,” he continued.
It’s been well-established that the attack wasn’t an armed insurrection. However, it was an indisputably violent and deadly event that led to five deaths, and the Capitol Police officers’ union has reported that more than 100 police officers were injured that day.
And Johnson’s remarks come a day after federal prosecutors in the Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy case trial unveiled a recording of leader Stewart Rhodes saying that his “only regret” about Jan. 6 was that he and his team of fellow Oath Keepers “should have brought rifles.”
Additionally, several insurrectionists have been prosecuted for assaulting U.S. Capitol Police officers with flagpoles as they stormed Capitol grounds.
In August, 72-year-old Howard Richardson of Pennsylvania was sentenced to 46 months in prison for beating an officer with a pole bearing a Trump flag.
At least two other Jan. 6 defendants, Arkansas man Peter Francis Stager and former NYPD officer Thomas Webster, have also been charged with using flagpoles to attack the police during the insurrection.