MADISON, Wis. — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Saturday that America is making progress on racism but liberals feel it’s not good enough and they want to impose their agenda on everyone else.
Johnson made the remarks at the state Republican convention at a Wisconsin Dells resort. He took to the stage to Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” and roaring applause. He spent most of his speech bashing liberals, saying they’ve grown angrier and angrier over the last decade.
“For some reason their leaders are not really satisfied with what America represents,” Johnson said. “America’s not perfect. We have that original sin from slavery. But we’ve made progress. We’ve continuously improved. That’s not good enough for the left. They’ve got to impose everything they want on the rest of us. We just want to be left alone.”
Johnson has taken criticism in recent months for advocating for alternative treatments for COVID-19 in lieu of vaccines. This month, YouTube blocked him from uploading videos for a week because he violated the company’s COVID-19 misinformation policies. He has scheduled a news conference Monday in Milwaukee to bring together people who had adverse reactions to the vaccine.
His speech at a Juneteenth Day celebration in Milwaukee last week was drowned out by a chorus of boos. Johnson last year blocked legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday. In the days leading up to his speech he said it seems strange to have taxpayers fund time off for federal employees to celebrate the end of slavery.
Johnson didn’t mention vaccines during his speech but said the media distorted what happened at the Juneteenth celebration, saying only a “nasty little small group of people” booed.
Johnson has said he hasn’t decided whether to seek a third term in 2022 but that former President Donald Trump has encouraged him to run. Johnson has echoed Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud.
Democrats have targeted him for defeat. Five candidates have announced to run against Johnson next year.
Delegates chanted “six more years” as Johnson arrived on stage Saturday. He shrugged the chants off but later in his speech said he’s “exhausted” by all the division in the country.
Before Johnson took the stage Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told delegates he has selected former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to lead an investigation into what Vos calls “voting irregularities” last fall.
Vos said last month that he would hire three retired police officers for the review. The Associated Press obtained contracts that show investigators will be paid $9,600 each over three months.
Gableman told delegates that he used his position on the Supreme Court to “fight evil” on their behalf and he’ll fight for them to get to the bottom of what happened during the 2020 election.
Gableman served one term as a conservative-leaning justice from 2008 to 2018. He decided not to run for reelection.
Johnson told reporters after his speech that he thought state lawmakers were doing a good job and he didn’t think Trump’s statement was much of a threat, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. He said he was encouraged that Vos has picked Gableman to oversee his investigation.
Trump surprised delegates with a video message, according to reports from the Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times. He praised Wisconsin Republicans and continued to assert he won the state in 2020.