Yesterday, GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump shamefully called for a nationwide ban on Muslims entering the U.S. While Trump’s statements have resulted in widespread condemnation from Republicans and Democrats alike, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has refused to answer whether he would support Trump as the Republican nominee.
“At every turn Ron Johnson has praised Donald Trump’s ideas and experience, even bragging about the similarities between their two campaigns. That should be very concerning to the people of Wisconsin,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Executive Director Kory Kozloski.
In August, research organization American Bridge released a video of Senator Johnson (1) comparing the appeal of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to his own re-election effort, saying, “I think what’s resonating about Donald Trump, I’d like to think, some things is appealing about my candidacy here in Wisconsin.” That same month the senator praised Trump’s willingness “to tell the American people the truth.“(2)
As Trump surged in the polls, Senator Johnson continued to agree with the GOP frontrunner, even as he made some of the most extreme statements of the presidential primary at that point by proposing to eliminate birthright citizenship.(3) And just yesterday, Senator Johnson said he believed that Donald Trump’s surge could be attributed to Americans looking for “real leadership.” (4)
Given his repeated statements of support for Trump’s candidacy, Johnson almost certainly agreed with Republican National Committee Chair Reince Preibus when he said that Trump’s campaign was a “Net Positive” for Republicans.
“Donald Trump’s shameful comments have no place in our country, and it’s time for Senator Ron Johnson to answer whether he will support Trump’s nomination once and for all,” concluded Kozloski.
1) Johnson: “What’s Resonating About Donald Trump…Is Appealing About My Candidacy Here In Wisconsin.” “Yesterday, however, American Bridge released a new video with a recent Ron Johnson quote that stood out as especially interesting. ‘I think what’s resonating about Donald Trump, I’d like to think, some things is appealing about my candidacy here in Wisconsin.’ Obviously, the grammar and syntax are a mess, but the point seems clear enough: Johnson apparently sees himself in the Trump-esque mold. At a certain level, perhaps this was inevitable. When one candidate rockets to the top of state and national Republican polling, it stands to reason that some GOP candidates, especially those facing tough re-election fights, would effectively tell voters, ‘Hey, I’m just like that guy!’ For Johnson, in particular, this must be especially tempting, since the far-right senator has a habit of making some pretty embarrassing comments. Why say, ‘I’m a clumsy, undisciplined politician,’ when you can say, ‘I’m appealing in the same way Donald Trump is’? ” [MSNBC, 8/13/15]
2) Johnson Praised Trump’s Business Background And Willingness “To Tell The American People The Truth.” ““Some say Republican candidate Donald Trump’s controversial comments both before and after the debate have hurt that positive image. But Johnson says what Trump is saying and his attitude resonate with the some of the American public. ‘What Donald Trump brings to the table is somebody, again with a business background, somebody that actually knows how to negotiate, where we could use some of that, but also somebody that’s just beholden to no one, and be willing to tell the American people the truth,’ said Johnson.” [WJFW, 8/9/15]
3) Johnson Called Trump’s Proposal To Eliminate Birthright Citizenship “A Legitimate Issue” To Talk About Because “Women From Other Countries, Coming In Here To A Birthing Center Just To Have A Child With U.S. Citizenship And Then Going Home.” “He said securing the border also would address the issue of birthright citizenship that has been a hot topic in the presidential campaign. The 14th Amendment gives U.S. citizenship to anyone born in the United States, but several Republican candidates, including front-runner Donald Trump, have said it should be nullified. Gov. Scott Walker has shifted positions on the topic, most recently siding with those who don’t want to alter the amendment. Johnson, meanwhile, said it was ‘a legitimate issue to be talking about the abuses of that.’ ‘We’ve heard this — I don’t have the information on it, but women from other countries coming in here to a birthing center just to have a child with U.S. citizenship and then going home,’ Johnson said. ‘So there are some legitimate issues, but no doubt about it, the 14th Amendment is there. I think the way to solve the problem is to secure the border. And then I think most of those issues go away.’” [Capital Times, 9/6/15]
4) Johnson Believed That Donald Trump Was Surging Because Americans Were Looking For “Real Leadership.” [00:03:39.15] HOST: “Alright a little commentary on what’s going on here now in terms of the presidential race. We see Donald Trump surging, a record high 36% according to the new ABC poll. Ted Cruz at 16. Ben Carson has fallen to 14%. Any comment on what you’re seeing there?” [00:03:57.03] JOHNSON: “Well I, I think what you’re seeing just in general is people are hungering for leadership, they are searching for some sense of safety and security. They’re not finding it and they’re certainly not finding it in the very weak leadership that President Obama is providing. They denial of reality is not going to solve problems. So, you know, people are looking for a real leader that is going to take strong actions to defeat our enemies, not strengthen them. I mean, take a look at the Iran deal, the agreement.” [WLS, John Howell Show, 12/7/2015] (AUDIO)