Ex-GOP Counsel Calls Ron Johnson 'Hack of the Highest Order' After Senator Says He'll Run Again

Lawyer Sophia Nelson, who previously served as the GOP counsel for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, lit into Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, on Sunday after he confirmed that he will run for re-election despite previously promising to serve only two terms.

Johnson was first elected in 2010 and was re-elected for a second term in 2016. Although he will finish his current term in January 2023, he wrote in a Sunday opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal that he will run again in the 2022 midterms and disregard his previous promise. He blamed Democrats for this decision.

"Ron Johnson is not someone you can take seriously as a United States senator," Nelson said during a segment of MSNBC's The Sunday Show, responding to the news.

"He is a hack of the highest order. He has, you know, been someone who has just engaged in the most nefarious type of conversation, gas-lighting obstruction, from Russia all the way to January 6th. So I expect nothing less from him. I am no longer surprised," said the former GOP attorney, who also served as legal counsel to New Jersey's former Republican Governor Christine Todd Whitman.

Senator Ron Johnson
Former GOP counsel Sophia Nelson described Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) as a "hack" during a MSNBC segment on Sunday after he announced he would seek a third Senate term. Above, Johnson speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing at the U.S. Capitol on December 7, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

Last May, Johnson drew substantial backlash from Democrats and some Republicans for claiming that the pro-Trump U.S. Capitol attack was largely a "peaceful" demonstration.

"By and large, it was peaceful protest, except for there were a number of people, basically agitators, that whipped the crowd and breached the Capitol. That's really the truth of what's happening here," Johnson told Fox News in an interview.

In his Wall Street Journal opinion article announcing his intentions, Johnson criticized Democrats and said their governance had motivated him to run for a third term. The Republican senator argued that "America is in peril."

"Much as I'd like to ease into a quiet retirement, I don't feel I should," the Wisconsin lawmaker wrote. "Countless people have encouraged me to run, saying they rely on me to be their voice, to speak plain and obvious truths other elected leaders shirk from expressing—truths the elite in government, mainstream media and Big Tech don't want you to hear."

Johnson continues to be staunchly supportive of former President Donald Trump. He also appears well-positioned to win a third term, although President Joe Biden did narrowly defeat Trump in Wisconsin in the 2020 election.

In 2016, Johnson kept his seat by winning 50.2 percent of the vote against his Democratic challenger's 46.8 percent. During his first election in 2010, the Republican lawmaker won over 51.9 percent of Wisconsin's voters and his Democratic opponent garnered 47 percent.

Biden narrowly beat Trump in the Midwestern state in the 2020 presidential election. The president won against the former president there by just under 21,000 votes. Biden received 49.45 percent of the state's votes as his incumbent opponent garnered just 48.82 percent.

Newsweek reached out to Johnson's spokesperson for comment.