Wisconsin Public Radio

Johnson Defends Trump, Blasts Media

Sen. Ron Johnson uses appearance on 'Meet The Press' to defend President Trump while attacking the media, CIA and FBI

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Oct 8th, 2019 11:03 am
Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson used a Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to defend President Donald Trump over the Ukraine investigation and to criticize both news media and intelligence officials.

Democrats are investigating whether the president sought quid-pro-quo by withholding military aid while pressing Ukraine to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Johnson has been speaking about Ukraine since Friday, when he gave details of his conversations with Trump and other administration officials related to the country.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Friday that Johnson said he was blocked by Trump in August from telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that U.S. aid was on the way. Johnson said the president was looking at withholding aid because he wanted to know “what happened in 2016.”

He also told the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, had told him the president would release military aid to Ukraine once he was satisfied the country would appoint a prosecutor to “get to the bottom of what happened in 2016.”

Johnson said Friday that “at that suggestion, I winced. My reaction was, ‘Oh God. I don’t wanna see those two things combined.'”

On Sunday, the senator told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd that he’d raised his concerns over Sondland’s claims directly to the president.

“When I asked the president about that, he completely denied it,” Johnson said. “He adamantly denied it. He vehemently, angrily denied it. He said, ‘I’d never do that.’ That is the piece of the puzzle I’m here to report today.”

Johnson called Todd’s framing of the Ukraine issue “very biased” and said, “Unlike the narrative of the press, that President Trump wants to dig up dirt on his 2020 opponent, what he wants is, he wants an accounting of what happened in 2016. Who set him up? Did things spring from Ukraine?”

The president has suggested, without evidence, that Ukraine may have been connected to hacking aimed at influencing that election.

Todd asked Johnson whether he believed Russia interfered in the 2016 campaign, and the senator said, “They absolutely did. And I don’t know to what extent the Ukrainians did.”

When Todd asked Johnson “Do you not trust the FBI? You don’t trust the CIA?” Johnson began by saying, “No, no, I don’t. Absolutely not. After Peter Strzok and Lisa Page? After James Comey, Peter Strzok, John Brennan?”

When asked whether he trusted the same agencies now, Johnson reiterated his earlier statement, saying “I don’t trust Andrew McCabe. I don’t trust James Comey. I don’t trust Pe–Peter Strzok. I don’t trust John Brennan.”

Johnson Defends Trump, Criticizes News Media On ‘Meet The Press’ was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

6 thoughts on “Johnson Defends Trump, Blasts Media”

  1. Duane says:

    Who cares about his sometimes racist, usually deplorable political views….RonJohn’s eyes are magical!!!

  2. Patricia Jursik says:

    “Truth, what is Truth,” so stated Pilate and Sen. Ron Johnson.

  3. frank a schneiger says:

    The historian T.W. Maitland once said, “We should always beware that what now lies in the past once lay in the future.” There is always a continuum in times like these, one that starts on one extreme with violent extremists, in this case the president’s neo-Nazi and white supremacist supporters; to the active base, the people who go to Trump’s Nuremberg style rallies; to those opportunists, who, for their own benefit, go along with the program (the Ron Johnsons of the world); to those who support it because it fits their prejudices and allows them to believe lies they want to believe, the virtually all white 35% who have no empathy for anyone who doesn’t look or think like them; to the various forms of indifference and opposition on the other end of the continuum. Someday, people will look back and ask, “So, what did you do during those years?”

    In our mafia-like age, there are a lot of Godfather analogies. One that has been largely forgotten is Michael Corleone saying, “Carlo, you have to answer for Santino.” If there is justice in the world – and some remaining historic memory – people will someday say to Ron Johnson, “You have to answer for what happened in the age of Trump.” What they will have to answer for includes the following:

    * The entrenchment of the otherization of scapegoat groups and the institutionalization of human cruelty, including the destruction of families and justifying a genocidal war in Yemen by the financial benefit of arms sales, among other crimes, not the least of which is to reestablish the legitimacy of white supremacy and the sense of white victimization.
    * The destruction of the very concept of truth by a pathologically lying president and all of those associated with him who have reinforced these lies for their own purposes, including Senator Johnson whose definition of “trust” is laughable.
    * The vast corruption of our government and those in the private sector who have seen their opportunities and taken them, a corruption that makes the president’s protestations on Ukraine a grim joke as his family continues to enrich itself in the same slimy ways that have characterized his entire life, something that seems to have escaped Johnson’s and his Republican colleagues notice, except for the “But what about (plug in Democrat)…” responses.
    * The undermining of the institutions of democracy, including free elections, the courts and, most visibly, a free press and their replacement by a regime-like propaganda apparatus led by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and other fascists (term used intentionally, for definition, see Robert O. Paxton, “The Anatomy of Fascism,” pages 218-220)
    * The destruction/undermining of the nation’s alliances with democracies and a new web of relationships with dictatorships, autocracies and criminal governments.
    * Refusal to address the enormous threats posed by the climate crisis and alignment with retrograde and criminal businesses and the stupidest people in American society.
    * Reinforcement of America’s world class inequality by a government, including Ron Johnson and his colleagues, that slashed taxes for the wealthy and corporations and systematically cut benefits and services for those in need, while driving the budget deficit past the $1 trillion per year mark, and, in doing so, paving the way for a true calamity when the next recession comes.

    As it was for the Wall Street guys who drove the country over the cliff in the first decade of the century, the Ron Johnsons of the world believe in IBG/YBG, i.e., I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone” and Americans’ short memories. Let’s hope they are wrong, and someone is able to say, “Ron, you have to answer for what you did.”

  4. Keith Prochnow says:

    Hands-down, the most embarrassing Wisconsinite. Makes me shudder most every time he speaks.

  5. Gregg Mulry says:

    Confirmation bias at work.

  6. Thomas Martinsen says:

    Keith’s assertion in post # 4 that RJ is “hands-down the most embarrassing Wisconsinite” brings to mind other competitors for that distinction: Scott Walker, Robin Voss, Scott Fitzgerald,Glen Grothman, Bob Donovan … Congrats to RJ for outshining ( in Keith’s view ) some very bright lights in the category of “most embarrassing badgers.” An old PINK FLOYD tune comes to mind: “Shine on you crazy diamonds.”

    Seriously, RJ’s apologies for Trump’s insane words and deeds are maddening. His pretzel logic in this endeavor must some day lump in the stomachs of those who continue to believe that a con man has their interests at heart. Trump is on tape in an effort to bribe a foreign official for nefarious assistance in the interest of his personal, political interests – at the expense of the integrity of this country’s election process.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us