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Former President Donald Trump on Thursday urged Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a controversial lawmaker who downplayed the January 6 Capitol riot, to seek a third term next year.
In a statement released by his leadership political action committee, Trump provided his “Complete and Total Endorsement” to the senator, who has yet to launch a reelection campaign for 2022.
“Even though he has not yet announced that he is running, and I certainly hope he does, I am giving my Complete and Total Endorsement to Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin,” Trump said in the statement. “He is brave, he is bold, he loves our Country, our Military, and our Vets. He will protect our Second Amendment, and everything else we stand for. It is the kind of courage we need in the U.S. Senate.”
Johnson has served in the Senate since 2011, and said last month that he is still undecided on running again but he is leaning toward retirement, a pledge he had made after he won a second term in 2016. Currently, five Republican senators out of 20 up for reelection in 2022 have announced their retirement.
The Wisconsin Senate race is poised to become one of the most competitive seats in the upcoming midterm elections, as Democrats aim to cement a greater majority in the upper chamber and Republicans seek to regain control. Trump’s early endorsement could likely boost Johnson’s bid should he choose to run.
“He has no idea how popular he is,” Trump said in the statement. “Run, Ron, Run!”
Johnson became a vocal Trump supporter over the past four years, and most recently sparked criticism after he dismissed the severity of the Capitol riot on January 6 that left five people dead.
Johnson said the violence didn’t seem to be “an armed insurrection,” despite his own GOP leader, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, regularly stating so. Johnson also said he “never felt threatened” on the day of the siege. He said the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol complex and forced Congress to lock down and evacuate were “people that love this country,” echoing comments Trump has made about the attack. Johnson previously attempted to direct blame for the riot on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though several Republicans, including McConnell, have pinned the responsibility on Trump.
Johnson voted to acquit Trump in his second impeachment trial in February on a charge of “incitement of insurrection.”
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Source:: Business Insider – Politics
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