GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger Accuses Ron Johnson of Trying to 'Rewrite History' With BLM Remarks

Republican Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger has criticized recent comments made by Republican Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson as "a rewrite of history."

Last Thursday, Johnson said he would've been worried during the January 6 Capitol insurrection if the rioters had been associated with Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa rather than supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Speaking of the Trump-supporting insurrectionists, Johnson told conservative podcaster Joe Pagliarulo, "I knew those are people that love this country, that they truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law, and so I wasn't concerned."

In a Monday interview with CNN host Wolf Blitzer, Kinzinger said Johnson's comments were "a rewrite of history."

"I don't know why people like Senator Johnson are insistent on going back and saying it really wasn't that big of a deal," Kinzinger said. "It's a rewrite of history that frankly is not going to smile well on him in the history of time."

Kinzinger Johnson BLM Antifa protesters Capitol riots
Republican Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger (pictured) has criticized Republican Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson's recent comments that he would've feared for his life more during the January 6 Capitol insurrection if the rioters had been associated with Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters rather than supporters of the former President Donald Trump. Kinzinger said Johnson's comment "a rewrite of history" and said that it has "a racial connotation." In this image, Kinzinger speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the House Committee On Foreign Affairs March 10, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Ting Shen/Getty

Kinzinger said he condemns both the January 6 insurrection and the riots that coincided with the summer racial justice uprising. However, he said the two weren't comparable because the insurrection "was a threat to the institution of democracy."

Asked if he considered Johnson's comment "racial," the Illinois representative said that Johnson's comment had "a racial connotation."

"It's just tribalism," Kinzinger continued. "Everybody is going into their tribes and what the senator seems to be saying is, 'You know, if it's my tribe that was attacking the Capitol, I felt fine with it.'"

In a statement obtained by The Hill last Saturday, Johnson defended his comment about BLM and Antifa protesters.

"Out of 7,750 protests last summer associated with BLM and Antifa, 570 turned into violent riots that killed 25 people and caused $1 - $2 billion of property damage. That's why I would have been more concerned," Johnson said.

In a statement to Newsweek, Johnson's communications director Ben Voelkel said that the lawmaker has repeatedly condemned the January 6 riots and those who perpetrated it, including in the aforementioned Pagliarulo interview.

Johnson's statements about the insurrection have attracted notoriety and criticism as Congress continues to investigate the riot's main actors and security failures.

On February 15, Johnson said that the incident "didn't seem like an armed insurrection to me," because of its lack of guns. On February 23, Johnson said in a Senate floor speech that "fake Trump supporters" and Antifa were present at the insurrection.

Johnson took his claim about fake Trump supporters from an unverified article by security analyst J. Michael Waller. Johnson admitted that Waller's assessment "might be ... flawed," but he defended citing it in the interest of pursuing all possible explanations.

FBI Assistant Director Steven D'Antuono has said there's "no indication" to support claims that Antifa protesters participated in the insurrection. Johnson himself has said that he doesn't believe that Antifa or Black Lives Matter were behind the insurrection. He has also said that white supremacist groups were involved in the riot's pre-planning.

Despite Johnson's claim that the pro-Trump insurrectionists "truly respect law enforcement" and "would never do anything to break a law," over 300 have been arrested and charged for breaking numerous laws during the January 6 uprising.

Roughly 140 police officers were injured during the insurrection, including one with a broken spine, a lost eye, lost fingers and some with brain damage.

Update (3/15/2020, 11:19 p.m.): This article has been updated to include a statement from Johnson's office.