Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson, a close ally of President Donald Trump, reportedly called the presidents an “A**hole” and admitted that President-Elect Joe Biden won the election about three weeks ago, a former Wisconsin Republican official said.
While Johnson supported Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations of widespread election fraud, according to Mark Becker – a former Brown County supervisor and former leader of the Republican Party there – the senator told him in a private phone conversation three weeks ago that he accepted Biden’s victory.
“My conversation with Senator Ron Johnson was one in which I hesitated for three weeks to discuss it openly. As former chairman of the Brown County Republican Party, I have people whom I respect deeply and who are still members of the party,” Becker wrote in an article for the conservative news site The Bulwark.
During that phone call, Becker said Johnson told him, “yes, Donald Trump is an asshole,” but he argued that it would be “political suicide” if he opposed the president. Johnson reportedly told Becker that Trump had caused a significant voter turnout, and the views of those voters were important to consider.
“Senator Johnson said he knew and accepted the fact that Joe Biden had won,” Becker wrote. “I asked why he would not say this at a time when Trump was hitting the foundation of our democracy with a sledgehammer.
“Senator Johnson replied that the institutions of our democracy are strong enough to withstand what is happening. I was shocked by this response, as it suggested that the truth was ultimately irrelevant and that Senator Johnson considered what the president was doing someone else’s problem,” Becker said.
In a statement e-mailed to Washington Newsday by a spokesman, Johnson did not explicitly deny Becker’s claims, but said he was “consistent” in his comments, both private and public.
“I have been very consistent in both public and private statements that I believe there are far too many irregularities and suspicious issues that need to be fully investigated and publicly reviewed before a final outcome is determined and a peaceful transfer of power takes place. The article should be seen as the political scoop that it is and simply ignored,” Johnson’s statement said.
On November 10, three days after Fox News, other television stations and the Associated Press predicted that Biden would win the election, Johnson publicly suggested that he would not accept the outcome. In a moment captured on camera, he walked past reporters when one asked, “Senator, have you congratulated [former]Vice President Biden yet?
“No,” Johnson replied laughing as he walked on. The reporter then asked, “Why not?”
“There’s no reason to congratulate him,” replied the GOP senator.
After Trump’s Attorney General William Barr said on Tuesday that there was “no evidence” to support the allegations of widespread election fraud, Johnson questioned Barr’s assessment. He said the Attorney General should show “all” the evidence that there was no fraud.
“I think there are enough questions left,” he said.
Although Trump’s legal team and the Republicans have taken legal action in several states, almost all of them have failed. Judges – including one appointed by Trump – dismissed many of the cases, saying that the lawyers had not presented any evidence to support the allegations.