U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson recently said “there’s nothing obviously skewed about the results” of the 2020 presidential election, even as Wisconsin Republican lawmakers this week authorized the expansion of an investigation into the election.
Johnson told a liberal activist posing as a conservative that former President Donald Trump lost the election in Wisconsin because he didn’t do as well as other Wisconsin Republicans on the ballot in November.
“There’s nothing obviously skewed about the results,” Johnson told the woman. “There isn’t. Collectively, Republicans got 1.661 million votes, 51,000 votes more than Trump got. Trump lost by 20,000. If Trump got all the Republicans, 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 that other Republicans got. And that’s why he lost.”
Johnson made the comments to Lauren Windsor, who posed as a conservative when speaking to Johnson. Windsor is executive producer of the liberal political web show The Undercurrent, and also runs Project Veritas Exposed, an effort to unveil the work of Project Veritas, a conservative organization that has secretly recorded Democrats and liberals. Windsor is also affiliated with Democracy Partners, a group consisting of professionals with backgrounds in Democratic Party politics.
Johnson said she was secretly recording him, though it was unclear from the video whether she was doing so or holding up a camera phone.
Recounts and court rulings in Wisconsin have affirmed that President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by about 20,000 votes — a similar margin to Trump’s 2016 win. There is no evidence of widespread fraud and courts have rejected several lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies attempting to overturn the outcome.
But despite appearing to affirm Biden’s win in the state, Johnson also told Windsor that he supports the Wisconsin GOP election investigation and audit, but said investigations should focus on the vote totals produced by the voter machines rather than the integrity of the voter machines themselves.
“The last thing I’d really focus on would be the machines, because we have paper ballots, we have the machine logs, we’ve got the machine totals, we should be focusing on that,” Johnson said.
He told Windsor that investigators should also focus on the Wisconsin Elections Commission; Madison’s Democracy in the Park event, where city clerk staff collected thousands of previously requested absentee ballots; clerks filling in missing information, such as ZIP codes, on absentee ballot envelopes; the role of a Mark Zuckerberg-funded organization in Wisconsin elections administration; and Milwaukee’s central count of absentee ballots.
Johnson also said he’s talked to Dominion, the manufacturer of voting machines, and has met with former Trump attorney Sidney Powell, who launched a litany of unsuccessful lawsuits against Biden’s victory and was recently rebuffed by a Michigan-based federal judge for what the judge called “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.”
Johnson in December used his former position as chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to hold a hearing on “irregularities” in the 2020 presidential election, which critics slammed for amplifying election disinformation.
In a statement on Tuesday, Johnson said he held the hearing to investigate irregularities “that have yet to be fully explained, fully investigated, and solutions passed to restore confidence in future elections.”
“This supposed undercover recording by a Democrat political operative at a public event is consistent with what I’ve been saying publicly on the 2020 election,” Johnson said.
Despite telling reporters shortly after the election that he regarded the election as legitimate, Johnson had initially opted to object to electoral votes for Biden from some states but ultimately rejected the challenge brought against Arizona and Pennsylvania’s electoral votes after the U.S. Capitol insurrection.
Democrats slammed Johnson’s recent comments.
“Once again Wisconsinites are the victims of Ron Johnson’s self-serving political games as he lights taxpayer dollars on fire in supporting an election audit that he admits is nothing more than a farce to appease voters,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Philip Shulman.
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"(I)f 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 that other Republicans got. And that's why he lost."
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin