“There’s nothing obviously skewed about the results,” Johnson said, according to a video posted by liberal activist Lauren Windsor. “If all the Republicans voted for Trump the way they voted for the Assembly candidates, he would have won. He didn’t get 51,000 votes that other Republicans got, and that’s why he lost.”
Biden won Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes, flipping a state Trump won in 2016 by about the same margin. President Biden’s win has been repeatedly reaffirmed through recounts and court rulings, and lawsuits from Trump allies and Republicans challenging Biden’s victory were defeated time and time again.
In a statement to The Washington Post, Johnson denounced the “supposed undercover recording by a Democrat political operative” and said his comments surrounding Trump were “consistent with what I’ve been saying publicly on the 2020 election, no need for hidden cameras and secret recordings.” Johnson said he has previously “acknowledged that we should respect our system of individual state certification of election results, and that in Wisconsin, there is nothing obviously wrong with the statewide results.”
“There were many irregularities that have yet to be fully explained, fully investigated, and solutions passed to restore confidence in future elections,” Johnson said to The Post. “I’ve investigated many of the irregularities, explained some, and have not gotten answers on many.”
Johnson, who initially objected to confirming Biden’s win in Arizona before backing off after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, added, “Ever since the Electoral College met, I acknowledged that former vice president Joe Biden was the president-elect and repeatedly said I could not envision any scenario where any Biden electors would be rejected.”
The video of Johnson comes the same week that a GOP-led committee in the Wisconsin legislature voted to approve as much as $680,000 in taxpayer money to audit the state’s election results. The audit is being led by former state Supreme Court justice Michael Gableman, a conservative who has previously claimed without evidence that the election was stolen. The audit was decried by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) as a “continued attack on our democracy.”
“I think it’s outrageous,” the governor said, according to WKOW.
Johnson — who previously supported Trump’s false claims of election fraud and held a hearing on election fraud while chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee — told Windsor that he supported the efforts to audit the results. The senator also acknowledged that he’s recently spoken to attorney Sidney Powell, who was sanctioned in Michigan last week for filing a lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the state’s 2020 presidential election, a move described by Federal District Judge Linda V. Parker as “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.”
But Johnson disagreed that the focus of the Wisconsin audit should focus on the integrity of the voting machines. When asked about the election software and machinery used in the election, Johnson responded almost dismissively to Windsor’s questions.
“I come from the accounting world. An audit is what you define it to be,” Johnson told Windsor, executive producer of the liberal web program “The Undercurrent.” “People think that there’s some magic thing called a forensic audit. In my mind, I know what things I’d concentrate on. And I’ll tell you, the last thing I’d focus on would be the machines. … I really do think we’re too much concentrated on the machines.”
Critics and Democrats lashed out at Johnson on Tuesday for supporting the audit.
“Once again Wisconsinites are the victims of Ron Johnson’s self-serving political games as he lights taxpayer dollars on fire in supporting an election audit that he admits is nothing more than a farce to appease voters,” Philip Shulman, a spokesperson with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, told the Wisconsin State Journal.
Johnson told The Post in a statement that Trump helped energize a Republican base in Wisconsin that “got 200,000 more votes in 2020,” The senator noted how “Republicans garnered a record 1,661,000 votes for state assembly candidates and the same record amount for our eight congressional candidates.”
But in the video, he again pointed to how tens of thousands of Republican voters in the state who went for candidates in other races simply did not do the same for Trump.
“The only reason Trump lost Wisconsin is that 51,000 Republican voters didn’t vote for him,” Johnson said in the video. As Windsor attempted to get the senator to say there was election fraud, Johnson responded, “Without even knowing the vote totals, you can’t state that opinion.”
Johnson wasn’t the only Wisconsin Republican to definitively say that Trump did not win the state or the election. His comments came after former House speaker Paul Ryan told WISN that there were isolated cases of fraud, but they were not “organized to the extent that it would have swung the electoral college and the presidential election.”
“It was not rigged. It was not stolen,” Ryan said. “Donald Trump lost the election. Joe Biden won the election. It’s really clear.”