US Senator Ron Johnson says it’s too early to announce his candidacy
Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson has said he feels no pressure to announce whether he plans to run for a third term.
There are a growing number of candidates vying for Johnson’s seat on the Democratic side, but Johnson said it was too early to announce his plans for the November 2022 election.
“I think I’m doing the public in Wisconsin a favor, I think I’m doing anybody who might want to help too, until this whole campaign is delayed,” Johnson said. “We’ll have a lot of time, we’ll probably spend a lot more money than it’s probably worth spending. But, I’ll try to limit both.”
Johnson spoke at a virtual lunch Thursday hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club.
In 2016, Johnson said he would only serve two terms in the US Senate. On Thursday, he said the promise was part of his reluctance to announce a candidacy for a third term.
“It would be fun to get back to a normal life, not to have to go through all that I have to put up with,” Johnson said. “But what I didn’t realize in 2016 was that we would lose the House, that we basically lost the Senate, that we don’t have the White House… our nation is at stake here, and that makes also part of my decision factor. “
When questioned, Johnson said he had no plans to run for governor of Wisconsin in 2022.
This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Milwaukee Press Club: You said you didn’t think masks didn’t prevent COVID-19 and that drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, could prevent the virus. Do you still believe it?
Senator Ron Johnson: I have worn masks in appropriate situations; I am not opposed to it. I’ve always been opposed to a mask warrant … There’s quite a bit of theater involved in that. I will always wear masks where it makes people comfortable. I do this more out of courtesy.
As for hydroxychloroquine or early treatment of COVID, I think this is a real blunder of the previous administration or the current administration, completely ignoring and going against solid research exploring the use. inexpensive generic drugs that can be used for the treatment of COVID.
MPC: Should companies recommend their employees to be vaccinated, knowing that we are currently witnessing a dramatic drop in cases?
RJ: Not being a doctor, I am not in a position to encourage or discourage, and I would recommend that anyone who is not a doctor not to make these kinds of recommendations. I am happy that over 100 million Americans have been vaccinated. At the same time, I am concerned about this indiscriminate mass vaccination surge.
MPC: Should Republicans accept that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election?
RJ: I think we have. What remains to be accepted? I did not vote to reject any of Joe Biden’s voters who would be rejected on January 6. I don’t think we should dismiss with contempt the legitimate concerns of the tens of millions of Americans who witnessed irregularities in the 2020 election, observers who couldn’t observe. I thought it was an important debate to have on January 6th. I’m glad that in the state of Wisconsin we have the Republican legislature to ensure the integrity of our election here.
MPC: Did the Capitol police let in protesters during the January 6 uprising?
RJ: I’m not yet ready to publish a report on this, but it’s true, there were several entry areas into the Capitol. It seems that most of the conflict happened on the west side of the Capitol, but there were other areas people had just entered. I took a lot of heat to say what is true, there weren’t thousands of armed insurgents. The summer’s left-wing rioters showed America how to use flag poles and other metal objects and frozen water bottles as weapons. I think the performance of January 6 was very biased; I don’t think it was particularly specific.
MPC: Why don’t you take an aggressive look at what happened on January 6 and President Trump’s role?
RJ: Because we had an impeachment trial. Who is ultimately responsible for security on Capitol Hill? This violation should never have happened. I called with Senator (Lindsey) Graham to request a completely independent commission to investigate this right after the violation.
MPC: Do you think President Trump bears any responsibility for what happened?
RJ: I do not blame Senator Bernie Sanders for the shooter who tried to take Rep Scalise and the others off the baseball field. I actually blame the perpetrators of the crime. I blame the agitators, the provocateurs and who led the assault on the Capitol. That’s who I blame. I think our hyper-partisan politics is at the root of all of this. My actions were to defuse the passion.
MPC: Do you support the teaching of critical race theory?
RJ: It should not be taught. I don’t believe America is a systematically racist nation. I wish the current leader of some of these movements would go back and re-read Martin Luther King (Jr.) and his approach. I realize that we still have racism in this country, but we have come a very long way and we need to recognize the progress that we have made.
What President Biden did in his Tulsa speech is appalling and incredibly divisive. The federal government is unable to resolve these issues and this administration is doing the exact opposite of what President Biden has promised, which is to heal this nation.