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EXCLUSIVE: Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said it was his “intention” to complete his second term in the Senate and return home to Wisconsin, but told Fox News in an exclusive interview Monday that Democrats are governing in a “very divisive and destructive manner” and he “can’t walk away” when he feels he can “make a real difference.”
Johnson, during his 2016 reelection campaign to continue representing Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate, pledged, if elected, to only serve two terms. But Johnson told Fox News he “did not anticipate Democrats getting total control of government.”
“It was definitely my intention – it was my strong preference, both mine and my wife’s, to serve that second term and go home,” Johnson said. “But I did not anticipate Democrats getting total control of government, or them governing in the very divisive and destructive manner that they are governing.”
Johnson said he “appreciated” President Biden’s inaugural address, but said he broke his promise.
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin along with other Senate Republicans slam CDC’s new mask recommendations. (Getty Images)
“He said his number one goal was to unify and heal this nation – but he has literally done the exact opposite,” Johnson said. “So, it just feels like this nation is being torn apart, and I asked myself, if you are in a position to help make America safer, and more secure, and to help improve things, would you just walk away?”
He added: “I’ve never walked away from doing difficult things so, I can’t walk away. I am in a position where I think I can help and make a real difference.”
“The No. 1 thing is, we have lost confidence, legitimately, with the FBI and the Justice Department and their corrupt investigation of Trump; health care agencies and their miserable failure of handing COVID; the media, for the most part; big tech giants – people have lost confidence in these institutions that are vital to a free democracy,” Johnson said.
He added: “The only way I know how to restore confidence is to get to the bottom of things and get to the truth, and right now, the truth is getting covered up on so many different fronts.”
Johnson has served as the chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Should he be reelected for a third term, due to Senate rules, his term leading that panel expires and he would shift to a leadership position on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Johnson said that, should he be reelected and take the helm at the subcommittee, it would be a “very useful position for myself.”
Johnson told Fox News he didn’t run for Senate to “investigate and ask questions and get answers,” but said it “has really become my role now.”
“I would like to go home,” Johnson said. “I am not doing this because I want to be somebody. I value being a U.S. Senator, but I am doing this for a real reason.”
Johnson said that his work leading investigations and “speaking truths” has put him in a position of getting “relentlessly attacked, vilified and ridiculed.”
“But it doesn’t deter me, because I know I am telling the truth,” Johnson said, adding that it is a “relatively unique quality,” and he thinks, part of the reason “so many people have so strongly encouraged me to seek a second term.”
“The bottom line is I just truly love this country, I love the people in it, the folks of Wisconsin,” Johnson said. “Our nation is in trouble, it is being torn apart, and I think I can help the situation, which is why I have decided to run again.”
As for his wife, Johnson said she “recognizes the unique perspective I bring to this and what my goals are. It is not to be somebody, it is to fix problems, and she has seen me be effective.”
“My wife loves this country too,” senatorial campaign will be different from his first two, Johnson said Republicans “need to regain the Senate,” and added that “every seat is crucial,” Johnson said.
In this Nov. 2, 2020, file photo sunlight shines on the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Meanwhile, when asked how his third campaign would differ from his past two, Johnson said he has already received “a completely different level of support in 2022 than in 2016,” noting that he has “nothing but respect” for Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign.
“I am a real ally of Sen. Rick Scott, I have nothing but respect for him, and he will support–the senatorial committee will support my campaign,” Johnson said. “It is also a completely different attitude in the country right now,” Johnson said. “In 2022, it is really about stopping the destruction and the danger of a Democratic governance.”
He added: “Totally different campaigns, it is almost like a different world.”