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'I'd rather be somewhere else': Ron Johnson suggests he doesn't want to be in the Senate

The Wisconsin Republican has been mounting a campaign against his own reelection for months.

By Josh Israel - August 18, 2021
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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told a right-wing host on Wednesday that he does not actually want to be a U.S. senator saying he only took the job out of love for his country.

Johnson, who is considering whether to stick with his two-term limit pledge or run for reelection in 2022, made the comments during an appearance on Wendy Bell Radio. The remarks were first flagged by the liberal opposition research group American Bridge 21st Century.

Bell is a conservative talk show host who has embraced the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrectionists. She was fired from Pittsburgh’s KDKA Radio last fall after calling for Black Lives Matters protesters to be killed. Bell was also fired from WTAE-TV in March 2016 for making racist comments in the wake of a mass shooting. She was dismissed from WJAS-AM in May, though an official at the company would not disclose details, saying only that it was a “personnel matter.”

On Wednesday, Bell floated the idea of a presidential ticket that included Johnson and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has quickly become a GOP star for his staunchly pro-Trump stances and refusal to administer COVID safety measures in his state.

“I have no aspirations for that,” Johnson replied.

The senator then cited the example of George Washington, who famously did not want to be president before ultimately stepping into the role in 1789.

“I’d really like to vote for somebody who doesn’t want the job,” he said.

“I’d rather be somewhere else,” he continued. “I’d rather do something else. I don’t want to — it’s not that I want to be a U.S. senator. I’m not seeking the title. It’s because I so love this country, as do Trump supporters.”

Johnson has suggested he would rather not be in the Senate before.

In a July 21 interview, he admitted he might not be a viable candidate for reelection.

“I want to make sure that this U.S. Senate seat is retained in Republican hands,” he told a conservative podcaster. “You see what the media’s doing to me. I may not be the best candidate. I wouldn’t run if I don’t think I could win, if I do’t think I was the best person to be able to win.”

In that same interview, he argued that his Senate tenure had been unsuccessful so far.

“I feel really bad that I’ve been here now probably 11 years and we’ve doubled the debt,” he said. “Obamacare’s still in place, and we’ve doubled the debt. I don’t feel like my time here has been particularly successful.”

Much of Johnson’s time in the Senate has been spent controversially. He has cast doubts on American democracy, on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, and on climate science, among other things.

In June, the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dubbed Johnson “the most irresponsible representative of Wisconsin citizens since the infamous Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy in the 1950s” after he held a news conference to warn of the supposed dangers of the COVID vaccines.

Johnson’s latest comments come just two days after National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott predicted that Johnson would seek reelection.

“I think he’s going to run and I think he’ll decide in the next few months,” the Florida Republican said. “I think Ron will win, assuming he runs.”

Polls suggest that Wisconsin voters are split. A Marquette University Law School survey last Wednesday found just 35% of the state’s registered voters have a favorable opinion of the senator, while 42% have an unfavorable view.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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