The United States senior senator from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, has said he would have been “a little concerned” had Black Lives Matter protesters been the ones who breached the security of the Capitol building on January 6 this year.
In an interview with conservative radio host Joe Pagliarulo on The Joe Pags Show at the end of the week, Johnson continued to defend his claim the Capitol breach was occasioned by people who “love this country” and meant no harm. This is in spite of the fact that the Justice Department is charging at least 14 people, with possessing deadly weapons on the day.
Johnson has said in the last month or so that the irate supporters of ex-President Donald Trump who sought after members of the legislature did not make him feel threatened. He reiterated this to the show’s host.
“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 explained.
He continued: “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.”
Johnson continues to hold the position that what has been called an insurrection was not an insurrection. His comparison with Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests stem from the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing in Minnesota in May last year.
But the non-governmental The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) has reported that of the 25 people who died in all the protests in America last summer, nine of them were BLM protesters. Four pro-Trump supporters and one police officer died in the attack on the Capitol.
Johnson is one of several Republicans and conservatives who have drawn an equivalence between the attack on the Capitol and BLM protests after police-involved killings of Black people.
Two main conclusions can be drawn from what Republicans and conservatives seek to achieve with drawing an equivalence between the BLM and the insurrectionists. The first can be read in terms of partisan politics where the support Democrats tend to lend Black Lives Matter protesters is equaled by Republicans who have withheld harsh criticisms for the breach of the Capitol.
In fairness, many Republicans and conservatives have blamed former president Trump for inciting what they have also called an insurrection. But the Republican Party does remain a unit largely supportive of Trump, so that breaching one of the most secure and sacred buildings in American democracy for the first time since 1814, does not warrant a chiding of supporters.
The other reason for the continued comparison of the January 6 breach with BLM protests is absolutely an issue about race and its place in American body politic and evolution. Conservatives continue to undermine, underestimate or simply avoid the question and thus, are more willing to perceive BLM protests in light.