Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), one of Trump’s most ardent supporters in Congress, was captured on camera blaming the former one-term president for his loss in the election. At a Milwaukee GOP gathering, Johnson made the candid statement to a leftist activist who appeared to be a conservative while conversing with the senator. The activist appeared to believe in the conspiracy idea that Trump’s defeat in Wisconsin was due to voter fraud, but Johnson disagreed.
“There’s nothing obviously skewed about the results,” he said in the footage. “If all the Republicans voted for Trump the way they voted for the Assembly candidates, he would have won. He didn’t get 51,000 votes than other Republicans got, and that’s why he lost.”
When asked about the video, Johnson expressed his displeasure with the “supposed undercover recording by a Democrat political operative” and stated that his remarks were consistent with his public pronouncements. However, the senator continues to support an audit of Wisconsin’s election results.
The remarks by Johnson, the state’s most senior Republican, put a crimp in a widening investigation into the election. Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by around 20,000 votes, or 0.6 percentage points, according to recounts and judicial findings.
In another video, Johnson stated that while he supported attempts to analyze the election, Republicans should not focus on voting machines, as some have suggested. He pointed out that in Wisconsin, all votes are cast on ballots that are kept by clerks.
“I’ll tell you the last thing I would really focus on would be the machines,” Johnson said.
Other issues, he said, should be looked into by those reviewing the election, such as Madison events that allowed absentee voters to turn their ballots into poll workers stationed in parks; grants Wisconsin municipalities received to help run their elections from a nonprofit group funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; and cities’ decisions to count all absentee ballots at one location, such as Milwaukee.
Such in charge of the election review have stated that they are concentrating on those issues, but some have pressed for a look at the voting equipment. Former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who is leading the assessment for Assembly Republicans, has stated that one of his top three priorities is to examine voting equipment.
“I really do think we’re too much concentrated on the machines,” Johnson said.
New: Sen Ron Johnson tells @lawindsor Trump should have accepted the Electoral College defeat, and that the reality is Biden probably got 7 million more votes. Good he’s finally telling the truth, but we won’t ever forget his lies. Let’s make this viral.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) September 1, 2021
On Tuesday, Johnson said the recorded comments were “consistent with what I’ve been saying publicly on the 2020 election, no need for hidden cameras and secret recordings.”
“There were many irregularities that have yet to be fully explained, fully investigated, and solutions passed to restore confidence in future elections, which is why I held a Senate hearing on Dec. 16, 2020,” he added. “I’ve investigated many of the irregularities, explained some, and have not gotten answers on many.”
“In Wisconsin, there were many election procedures that did not conform with state election law, and a number of issues — ‘balloting in the park,’ Mark Zuckerberg’s donations affecting local control of vote-counting, late central ballot counting on absentee balloting in Milwaukee — that should be addressed.”
He went on to acknowledge “that we should respect our system of individual state certification of election results, and that in Wisconsin, there is nothing obviously wrong with the statewide results, where President Trump by energizing the Republican base got 200,000 more votes in 2020, and collectively, Republicans garnered a record 1,661,000 votes for state assembly candidates and the same record amount for our 8 congressional candidates.”
It’s a good thing that Donald Trump takes constructive criticism so well https://t.co/ypn59lkVS5
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) September 1, 2021
Johnson acknowledged Biden’s victory shortly after the election but said he believed voters’ concerns should be investigated. He initially opposed verifying Biden’s victory in Arizona in January but changed his mind after a crowd stormed the US Capitol.