On a weekend when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) was out on the rubber chicken circuit minimizing the violence at the Capitol on January 6, WKOW-TV in Madison asked me to comment on Johnson’s behavior for their Capital City Sunday program.
WKOW’s A. J. Bayatpour asked me why Johnson is peddling the conspiracy theories rather than telling Republicans the truth about the 2020 presidential election and the violent attempt by Trump supporters to prevent the certification of the election by Congress.
“I think there’s a fear of the Republican base right now,” Wigderson said. “The Republican base doesn’t want to hear that it was Trump supporters that [were behind the Capitol riot]. They don’t want to hear, even want to hear that Trump lost the election and Johnson has been pandering to that base rather than speaking the truth.”
Wigderson said his biggest concern was the gravity of the wild, unfounded claims being pushed by the far-right; by convincing millions of Americans their candidate had the election stolen, Wigderson said it opens the doors to the type of extreme response the country saw on January 6.
“The type of conspiracy theories the Republican Party is embracing right now, they’re the type that undermine a democracy,” he said. “Because they’re the type that say if everything is illegitimate, then that justifies anything you do.”
Johnson declined to appear on the program, according to Bayatpour.
The senator was making multiple appearances at Republican events over the weekend, including the Milwaukee County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner on Friday.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Johnson continued to cast doubt on the scale and purpose of the violence on January 6, questioning the need for the security fencing around the Capitol at the Friday Milwaukee dinner.
“The reason we have that, the reason they’re attacking me for entering an eyewitness account into the record, for saying, just questioning — it didn’t look quite like my version of an armed insurrection — is because the narrative of the media and the narrative of the Democrats that they are just pushing and they are dedicated to maintaining is that 74 million Americans that voted for Donald Trump are suspected domestic terrorists or potential armed insurrectionists and they need to use a police state — (attorney general nominee) Merrick Garland, Department of Justice, the FBI, all their police power, maybe they’ll have to pass a whole new Patriot Act, not to defend America against Islamic terrorists but defend America against us.”
The “eyewitness account” Johnson referred to was a bizarre op-ed that appeared in The Federalist, a Trump-supporting propaganda site, that alleged the riot was the result of Antifa infiltrators and an overly-aggressive Capitol police force. He had the account read into the congressional record at the Senate hearing on the Capitol police failure to keep out the protesters.
Johnson’s complaint about the Capitol security fence, which was also echoed by Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI7), comes as the Capitol police are preparing for possible violence when President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union Address. Also, a number of QAnon conspiracy theorists believe that Trump still maintains control of the military and that something will happen on either March 4 or March 20 that will result in the government being overthrown and Trump will return to power.