- Sen. Ron Johnson told Fox News that is wrong to call the January 6 riot an armed insurrection.
- Johnson said the protesters seemed “in a jovial mood” and stayed “within the roped lines.”
- Johnson has long defended the Capitol rioters and described the insurrection as a peaceful protest.
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Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said the Capitol riot wasn’t an armed insurrection because the protesters were “staying within the roped lines.”
Appearing on Fox News on Sunday, Johnson said he and his staff reviewed hours of footage from the Capitol on January 6 to clear the record about what really happened.
“I think it’s extremely important to create an accurate historical record of exactly what happened so the false narrative that thousands of armed insurrectionists doesn’t last,” Johnson said.
When asked by host Mark Levin what his office had found, Johnson said they saw “309 people” peacefully walking past police into the Capitol.
Johnson went on to say that first-person accounts of the protesters painted them as “in a jovial mood.”
“They weren’t rioting. It doesn’t look like an armed insurrection when you have people that breach the Capitol, and I don’t condone it, but they’re staying within the roped lines in the Rotunda. That’s not what armed insurrection would look like,” he said.
As of Monday, at least 521 people have been charged in relation to the Capitol insurrection. Five people, including one police officer, died after the event, and The New York Times reported that about 140 officers were injured.
Johnson has long defended those who breached the Capitol on January 6, and falsely described the insurrection as a peaceful event.
In March, Johnson called the rioters “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement.”
“Had the tables been turned and President Donald Trump won the election and those were thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protestors I would have been concerned,” he told Wisconsin radio at the time.
Last month, he also called the riot “by and large a peaceful protest.”
As part of his office’s attempt to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6, Johnson has also asked Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman for permission to interview officers working that day, Forbes reported.
Johnson is one of a number of Republican lawmakers arguing that it is misleading to label the events of January 6 an insurrection.
Another, Rep. Andrew Clyde, said last month: “To call it an insurrection in my opinion is a bold-faced lie.”