GOP Sen. Ron Johnson falsely claimed Greenland only recently froze and now admits he has ‘no idea’ about its history

ron johnson stimulus checks
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

  • In an attempt to undermine climate science, GOP Sen. Ron Johnson falsely claimed that Greenland was named for its once-green landscapes.
  • Johnson admitted to The New York Times last week that he had “no idea” how Greenland got its name.
  • Johnson has rejected the science proving that climate change is overwhelmingly caused by human activity.
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In an attempt to undermine climate science, Sen. Ron Johnson falsely claimed in 2010 that Greenland – a largely ice-covered island – was named for its once-green landscapes.

Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, admitted to The New York Times last week that he had “no idea” how Greenland got its name.

“You know, there’s a reason Greenland was called Greenland,” Johnson told Madison news outlet WKOW-TV in 2010. “It was actually green at one point in time. And it’s been, you know, since, it’s a whole lot whiter now so we’ve experienced climate change throughout geologic time.”

In reality, Erik Thorvaldsson, a Viking settler also known as Erik the Red, gave Greenland a misleading name in the hopes of attracting Europeans to the island. The Danish territory has been covered in ice and glaciers for at least 2.5 million years.

“I could be wrong there, but that’s always been my assumption that, at some point in time, those early explorers saw green,” Johnson told The Times last week. “I have no idea.”

Some of those who deny the scientific consensus on climate change spread the myth that ice ages and warm periods between them prove that the global warming the Earth is currently experiencing is natural. Johnson has repeatedly rejected the science proving that climate change is overwhelmingly caused by human activity. He’s falsely claimed that global warming is caused by sunspots and that there’s nothing humans can do to reverse the phenomenon.

“If you take a look at geologic time, we’ve had huge climate swings,” Johnson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a 2010 interview. “I absolutely do not believe that the science of man-caused climate change is proven, not by any stretch of the imagination. I think it’s far more likely that it’s just sunspot activity or something just in the geologic eons of time where we have changes in the climate.”

He went on, “The Middle Ages was an extremely warm period in time too, and it wasn’t like there were tons of cars on the road.”

Johnson also claimed that attempting to reverse climate change is a “fool’s errand” that would wreck the economy.

“I don’t think we can do anything about controlling what the climate is,” he said.

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GOP Sen. Ron Johnson said he never felt threatened during the Capitol riot, but that he would have been concerned if it was Black Lives Matter protesters

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Police officers in riot gear struggle to keep a Trump mob from entering the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

  • Sen. Ron Johnson said he “knew” during the Capitol riot that the mob were law-abiding citizens.
  • He said he would’ve been concerned if they had been Black Lives Matter or antifa protesters.
  • 315 Capitol rioters have been arrested and 140 police officers were injured during the attack.
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Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said he did not feel threatened during the Capitol riot on January 6, but that he would have felt differently if the group had been Black Lives Matter protesters.

Johnson, a Republican, was speaking during a radio interview that aired Friday on the conservative talk show, The Joe Pags Show. He repeated a statement he has made in the past that he “never felt threatened” on January 6, when a pro-Trump mob took seige of the Capitol, prompting lawmakers to evacuate.

“I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned,” Johnson said.

Five people died as a result of the riot, including a Capitol police officer.

So far, law enforcement have arrested more than 315 people at the riot on charges that include assaulting an officer, violent entry, and entering a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

About 140 police officers were injured during the riot, according to the head of the Capitol Police union. One officer, Brian Sicknick, died of injuries he sustained during the attack.

“Had the tables been turned, and President Trump won the election, and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned,” Johnson said, acknowledging that the remark could get him “in trouble.”

Conservatives have frequently drawn a false equivalence between Black Lives Matter protesters and antifa, which is a separate political movement based on anti-fascism ideology, though some people who align with antifa did take part in racial justice protests last year.

Last summer saw the most civil rights protests in a generation, and in the thousands of demonstrations that took place following the death of George Floyd, some turned into violent riots with looting and property destruction.

However, an analysis by the US Crisis Project found 93% of the racial justice protests that occurred over the summer were peaceful protests. The report identified more than 2,400 locations at which peaceful protests took place, while violent demonstrations occurred in only 220 locations.

Some people on Twitter called Johnson’s remark racist, including Joe Walsh, another conservative talk show host and former GOP representative from Illinois.

“I got elected with Ron Johnson. I liked Ron Johnson. I don’t know who the hell this Ron Johnson is. This is ugly. This is wrong. This is racist,” Walsh tweeted, along with an audio clip.

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Republicans move to drag out debate on the Biden $1.9 trillion stimulus to slow down its passage

Ron Johson
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

  • Republicans sought to drag out the proceedings on the Democratic stimulus bill on Thursday.
  • Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin forced a reading of the 628-page relief legislation on the Senate floor.
  • Democrats brushed aside the reading as a political stunt, and aim to pass the bill sometime this week.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The Senate voted along party lines to kick off debate on the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan on Thursday afternoon. 

But Republicans appear intent on dragging out the proceedings to make it as painful as possible on Democrats advancing the measure without GOP support.

The protracted debate could mean Senate passage of the bill could slip sometime into the weekend. Democrats are racing to enact the bill before a March 14 deadline when enhanced unemployment insurance will expire.

Shortly after the vote, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin objected to a motion that would dispense with a reading of the legislation. The move set up a reading of the 628-page bill by Senate clerks, which could take several hours.

“If they’re going to add nearly $2T to the national debt at least we should know what’s in the bill,” the Wisconsin senator wrote in a tweet. 

For at least two hours on Thursday afternoon, Johnson was present in the Senate chamber. He occasionally took notes on a legal pad as clerks read the relief legislation aloud.

The reading was the first step in an apparent GOP bid to slow down passage of the Democratic rescue plan. Democrats are employing a tactic called reconciliation to bypass Republicans and approve the legislation with a simple majority of 51 votes.

Democrats brushed the reading aside, arguing that it amounted to little more than a political stunt.

“We all know this will merely delay the inevitable,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday. “It will accomplish little more than a few sore throats for the Senate clerks, who work very hard, day-in, day-out, to help the Senate function.”

Republicans have been staunchly opposed to the measure, contending the bill costs too much and they had little input into its design.

 “The real tragedy here is not Senate process,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday. “It’s how ill-suited this bill is to what Americans need right now.”

Once the Senate clerks wrap up with the reading, the chamber is expected to start 20 hours of debate. When that concludes, a “vote-a-rama” will get under way.

Republicans are preparing to offer hundreds of amendments to the relief bill. Some of these may deal with the $350 billion in state and local funding, and a push to scale back unemployment benefits. Democrats and Republicans will vote on many of them, but likely not all.

“Historically what’s happened is… we offer a couple of hundred amendments on the Republican side,” Johnson told reporters today. “And we get a couple of dozen voted on and people tire out. I’m coming up with a process that keeps people from tiring out. I’m getting sign ups. I’m laying out a three-shift schedule.”

“I think it’s important for the American people and our Democratic colleagues to recognize that when they’re going to propose spending money that’s not needed and that’s wasteful,” Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told reporters on Thursday. “And they lard up a piece of legislation that we’re not going to just sit back and take it that we’re going to fight back.”

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Senate Democrats advance the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, clearing hurdle as they finalize changes to legislation

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, speaks during a news conference following a virtual Senate Democratic policy luncheon.

  • The Senate voted to advance the $1.9 trillion Biden relief bill along party lines on Thursday.
  • The move kicks off a marathon debate which will likely push final Senate passage into the weekend.
  • Republicans are moving to drag out the proceedings and offer hundreds of amendments to the bill.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The Senate voted to advance the $1.9 trillion rescue package on Thursday along party lines, kicking off a lengthy debate that Republicans are moving to drag out. Passage of the bill may slip into the weekend.

Vice President Kamala Harris served as the tie-breaker in the 51-50 vote.  The clock has started on 20 hours of debate, followed by a marathon amendment process called a vote-a-rama.

“No matter how long it takes, the Senate is going to stay in session to finish the bill this week,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday.

But Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin set up a full read-out of the 628-page relief legislation shortly after, which could stretch on for up to ten hours. The task fell upon the chamber’s clerks, and senators wouldn’t be reading the bill.

“We need to keep this process going so we can highlight the abuse – obviously not Covid relief, obviously a boondoggle for Democrats,” Johnson said.

Democrats brushed this aside as a political stunt, and pointed to polls showing strong public support for the package.

“We Democrats want America to hear what’s in the plan,” Schumer said. “And if the senator from Wisconsin wants to read it, let everybody listen because it has overwhelming support.”

ron johnson stimulus checks
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

Legislation changed in Senate en route to party-line vote

Democrats spent much of the past day finalizing changes to the sprawling legislation. The president signed off on Wednesday to tightened eligibility for a round of $1,400 stimulus checks, placing lower income caps to prevent higher-earning Americans from receiving a third direct payment.

The moderate Democrats who led this effort also adjusted the aid formulas for $350 billion in state and local funding.

“I wanted to be sure localities had an ironclad share of the state and local funding,” Sen. Angus King of Maine told reporters on Thursday. “I wanted to be sure that the individual payments were targeted to those most in need.”

The relief package would provide $1,400 stimulus checks for the majority of taxpayers; $400 in federal unemployment benefits through August; $200 billion in funding for schools; $50 billion in virus testing and tracing; and a major revamp of the child tax credit.

Republicans are staunchly opposed to the bill, arguing it is an untargeted piece of legislation full of progressive priorities. Some were supportive of Johnson.

“I would expect a very long night into the next day and keep going on. There’s a lot to still cover,” Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma told Insider. “Obviously we need to read the bill first.”

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Here are some of Sen. Ron Johnson’s thoughts on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill

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Sen. Ron Johnson

  • GOP Sen. Ron Johnson took to the Senate floor to let Americans know that $1.9 trillion is, physically, a lot of money.
  • “I think we’ve grown immune to these vast amounts of money,” said Johnson, who voted for the GOP’s $1.5 trillion tax cut in 2017.
  • He also displayed a graphic showing how large a stack of a trillion one-dollar bills would be.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin took to the Senate floor Wednesday to rip Democrats over their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan. (Here’s what is in that $1.9 trillion relief bill and what pandemic help will expire if it is not passed.)

Johnson’s overarching message: $1.9 trillion is, physically, a lot of money.

“I think we’ve grown immune to these vast amounts of money,” he said Wednesday. “I always knew we were going to be in big trouble, when we stopped talking about hundreds of billions of dollars and switched to talking about trillions of dollars. And so we talk about one trillion or two trillion, it just doesn’t sound as much as a couple hundred billion, or 800 billion, which was the stimulus package under the Obama administration.”

The senator then put up a graphic showing how long it would take to accumulate $1.9 trillion at $1 per second.

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Sen. Ron Johnson discusses the COVID relief bill on the Senate floor.

Per the graphic, it would take more than 60,000 years to accumulate $1.9 trillion at that rate. A long time, as Johnson noted. And to show exactly how long, for anyone who was still unable to grasp the concept, the GOP senator pointed out that “the human race began to develop language about 50,000 years ago.”

Then he introduced a second graphic showing how big a stack of a trillion one-dollar bills would be. It’s unclear why he chose this figure or what it signifies.

According to the graphic, a stack of one trillion dollar bills would be 67,866 miles high. That’s a long distance.

“That is what we are debating spending,” Johnson said. “A stack of dollar bills that extends more than halfway the distance to the moon.”

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Sen. Ron Johnson speaks on the Senate floor.

Johnson then dove more into the relationship between money and the moon.

“This is at a point in time when we’re about $28 trillion in debt,” he said. “That singles stack would be over 1.9 million miles. Or if we put it relative to the moon, that would be eight stacks; seven stacks to go directly to the moon and one further stack that’s 95 percent of the way there.”

“These are astonishing sums that we’re talking about, and the majority party here wants to jam this through through a reconciliation process,” Johnson added. “No consultation with our side. Just blow it through here, 20 hours of debate, a vote-a-rama, pass $1.9 trillion in spending, and go home.”

“At some point in time, there will be a day of reckoning, the debt crisis, and it won’t be pretty,” Johnson said Wednesday. “My suggestion, at least as we consider this: is let us actually have a debate. Let’s have a discussion. Let’s consider the amendments. Let’s not do this in 20, 24, 30 hours. Let’s take the time to seriously consider what we are doing to our children in contemplating spending a stack of dollar bills over 135,000 miles high, extending more than halfway to the moon.”

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GOP Sen. Ron Johnson says the Capitol riot ‘didn’t seem like an armed insurrection’

Ron Johnson
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin).

  • Sen. Ron Johnson on Monday downplayed the severity of the January 6 Capitol riot.
  • During an interview, Johnson said that the riot “didn’t seem like an armed insurrection.”
  • Johnson voted to acquit Trump for “incitement of insurrection” in the Senate impeachment trial.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin on Monday downplayed the severity of the January 6 Capitol riot, saying on a radio show that the deadly attack didn’t appear to be “an armed insurrection,” while also praising the attorneys that defended former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial.

During an interview with WISN-AM in Milwaukee, Johnson – a staunch Trump ally who voted to acquit the former president for “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the riot – was defiant in his reasoning.

“This will get me in trouble, but I don’t care,” he said, adding that “groups of agitators” were responsible for the mayhem.

“The group of people that supported Trump, the hundreds of thousands of people who attended those Trump rallies, those are the people that love this country,” Johnson said. “They never would have done what happened on January 6. That is a group of people that love freedom – that’s a group of people we need to unify and keep on our side.”

The rioters, angered by President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump, breached the historic building and caused lawmakers to flee the Electoral College certification of Biden’s win. The riot left five people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick.

“This didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me,” Johnson added. 

Johnson made his claims despite widely seen video footage and photos showing rioters constructing gallows on the Capitol grounds, holding zip ties, and throwing a fire extinguisher at police, among other violent acts.

Read more: GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger on recognizing the QAnon threat and not fearing a GOP primary challenger for voting to impeach Trump

“I mean ‘armed,’ when you hear ‘armed,’ don’t you think of firearms?,” he said. “Here’s the questions I would have liked to ask. How many firearms were confiscated? How many shots were fired? I’m only aware of one and I’ll defend that law enforcement officer for taking that shot. It was a tragedy, but I think there was only one. If that was a planned armed insurrection, man, you had really a bunch of idiots.”

In official documents, law enforcement officials indicated that guns and additional weapons were discovered on some of the rioters, as well as inside vehicles.

Johnson, who baselessly attempted to link the Capitol siege to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, additionally alleged that the videos presented during the Senate trial by House impeachment managers were “highly selectively edited.”

The senator also said that the Trump defense team “eviscerated” the House impeachment managers and “blew their case out of the water.”

The effort to convict Trump for “incitement of insurrection” fell short by a 57-43 margin. A conviction required two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes.

All 50 Senate Democrats voted to convict Trump, while seven Republicans crossed over to support the former president’s conviction.

Johnson, who is up for reelection in 2022, has not yet indicated whether he will seek a third term in office.

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