Madison, Wis. — Yesterday in an interview with Lisa Boothe, Senator Ron Johnson admitted that, despite his best efforts, he hasn’t been “particularly successful.”
What is Johnson most disappointed by?
- That he failed in his efforts to strip away health care coverage and protections for people with pre-existing conditions away from over 883,000Wisconsinites.
- That his dangerous misinformation campaign about the COVID-19 vaccine is being treated with the skepticism it rightfully deserves.
- That during his time in the Senate the national debt doubled.
- Finally, after spending the week obstructing the bipartisan infrastructure efforts, going as far as to say “what’s going on in Washington D.C., unfortunately, is bipartisanship. I always tell people [to] beware of bipartisanship,”…he actually complained about how “dysfunction” in D.C. frustrates him.
The second-term senator, who said he was still undecided about running for reelection next year, told the conservative commentator Lisa Boothe that he ran for the Senate in 2010 because he wanted to get rid of Obamacare and lower the national debt. But his party hasn’t managed to make progress on either issue, even under President Donald Trump.
“I feel really bad that I’ve been here now probably 11 years and we’ve doubled the debt,” Johnson said. “Obamacare’s still in place, and we’ve doubled the debt. I don’t feel like my time here has been particularly successful.”
Trump, who has publicly urged Johnson to run for reelection, promised to repeal Obamacare, but Republican lawmakers abandoned their campaign to get rid of the popular healthcare law after repeated legislative failures. Trump also promised to pay down the national debt over eight years, but he instead presided over the third-largest increase in the national debt under any administration.
Johnson said “dysfunction” in Washington made his job frustrating and lamented that the media “rakes me over the coals, relentlessly” because of the “truths that I tell.”
The senator, elected as part of the tea party’s 2010 surge in Congress, has pushed misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines and has said he won’t get vaccinated. He told Boothe on Wednesday that there were “serious, serious issues” with the COVID-19 vaccines and that there was no reason for Americans who aren’t in high-risk categories for COVID-19 to get vaccinated.
The Wisconsin lawmaker said the federal government was ignoring risks associated with the vaccines and attempting to assert control over the public by pushing Americans to get vaccinated. These assertions aren’t backed by science, which shows that vaccines dramatically reduce the chance of serious illness and hospitalization from COVID-19, including sickness from the dominant Delta variant.
“It creeps me out that the government is wanting to push a vaccine in everybody’s arm, even those people that don’t need it,” Johnson told Boothe. “Sorry Uncle Joe, I’m not signing up for that program. I don’t trust them. … It’s creeping me out because it’s not rational.”
He added: “This push to mass-vaccinate everybody — even those who’ve had COVID or even those that really have very little risk of any kind of serious impact if they get COVID — it just doesn’t make sense, particularly with a vaccine that is not fully approved.”
The senator has repeatedly and wrongly claimed that natural immunity from a COVID-19 infection is stronger than immunity provided by a vaccine and pointed to misleading data to support his claims about the safety of the vaccines.
Johnson called this “a perilous moment for our nation” because Democrats who “don’t like this country” have “devious plans” to “fundamentally transform” it. The senator said he wanted his Republican colleagues in Congress to focus more on “culture-war issues,” including the debate over teaching critical race theory in schools.