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Johnson should exit political stage -- Chuck Vetzner

Johnson should exit political stage -- Chuck Vetzner

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After the U.S. Capitol became a focal point of insurrection Wednesday afternoon, it appears that U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, abandoned his leadership among the conspiracy theorists challenging the validity of vote totals in several states supporting President-elect Joe Biden.

Sen. Johnson was among the group of senators that initially challenged the Arizona electoral votes for Biden. But after order in the Capitol was restored, Sen. Johnson accepted the current Arizona electors and joined in no further challenges. Given the extreme views within the current Republican Party, this switch might seem a basis to consider Sen. Johnson a moderate.

No such conclusion is warranted, however. It could have been easily lost amid the news-making chaos on Wednesday, but Johnson gave an interview that afternoon in which he claimed that neither he nor President Trump bore any responsibility for the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters. He said this even though the rioters clearly were motivated by claims of voter fraud that had been perpetuated by Trump and Johnson, among others.

If Johnson’s recent fondness for conspiracies and hoaxes did not otherwise disqualify him for office, his latest incredible claim that such views played no part in the Capitol rampage surely warrants his swift exit from the political stage.

Chuck Vetzner, Madison

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