In the last stretch of the crucial Senate election, Democrats are stepping up their criticism of Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin for his comments downplaying the Jan. 6 incident.
The 30-second ad will begin airing in the pivotal state on Wednesday after being initially revealed to NBC News. It includes a former Madison police officer narrating video that depicts bloody altercations near the US Capitol during the uprising last year.
George Silverwood, a retired police captain, says in the advertisement, “I’ll never forget witnessing my fellow law enforcement officers guarding the Capitol on January 6th. “Then five officers passed away. However, Ron Johnson is defending the rioters who attempted to destroy our country and even referring to their actions as “peaceful protests.”
The advertisement depicts a casket covered in the American flag as Silverwood talks about the fatalities related to the attack.
The Senate Majority PAC, the major Senate super PAC for the Democrats, and End Citizens United, another political action organization, each contributed money to the advertisement. The race between Johnson and his Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, is down to the wire. The winner might control the Senate for the next two years.
Additionally, this is the first time Democrats have featured Johnson’s comments regarding the attack on the Capitol in a TV ad during the election. Johnson, a two-term senator, has recently been under fire from increased scrutiny on the campaign trail because of his prior remarks regarding January 6.
Johnson has claimed that he vehemently condemned the violence on January 6 and recently informed the Milwaukee Rotary Club that the events of that day weren’t an armed uprising. Previously, he said to Fox News: “For the most part, it was peaceful protest, but there were a few individuals—basically agitators—who whipped the crowd and broke into the Capitol. And yes, that is actually the case in this situation.
Johnson received criticism earlier for the line about “peaceful protest,” despite the fact that it is the first television advertisement in the race to directly mention Jan. 6. Prior to the start of the Senate race last year, a coalition of 20 progressive organizations funded an TV ad that criticized Johnson for his statements and actions during the attack on the Capitol as well as his remarks regarding voter rights. Sen. Johnson, you’re failing us, it stated. Our democracy has always been protected without partisanship. And yet you choose not to look into the fatal assault on our Capitol.
Jan. 6 was also highlighted with a digital commercial from earlier in the campaign.
Barnes has been hammered by advertising from Johnson and other GOP-aligned organizations that focus on crime. The Senate Majority PAC’s advertisement seeks to counter that message by portraying Johnson as being too extremist for Wisconsin and discrediting his claim that he is the candidate who is on the side of law enforcement.
According to NBC News, Johnson engaged a lawyer to provide advice on a potential election recount on November 8th. The attorney, James Troupis, is already involved in the Justice Department’s inquiry into the disturbance that occurred on January 6. Troupis led Trump’s unsuccessful recount attempts in Wisconsin.