The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel blasted Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Liberal group launches campaign urging Republicans to support Biden's agenda Domestic extremists return to the Capitol MORE (R) in an editorial published on Wednesday, calling the firebrand conservative lawmaker the most "irresponsible representative of Wisconsin citizens" since Sen. Joe McCarthy (R).
"The Republican senator highlighted five people who said they had serious side effects from the life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. Their stories were sad, to be sure, and we don’t doubt their veracity. But they represent only a tiny fraction of the people who have been vaccinated," the newspaper's editorial board wrote. "But instead of encouraging more people to get vaccinated so we can be rid of this plague once and for all, Johnson has chosen to use his taxpayer-financed megaphone to draw attention to a vanishingly small number of people who believe they suffered a serious side effect."
Johnson "has continued to cast doubts about science, research, masks and other public health measures while promoting 'cures' with no evidence behind them," the newspaper wrote.
The largest newspaper in Johnson's home state called him "the most irresponsible representative of Wisconsin citizens since the infamous Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy in the 1950s."
The outlet castigated Johnson for his "past misleading comments," including during meetings with its journalists, and bemoaned his evolution into "a leading Trump apologist."
Johnson sparked backlash earlier this year for saying he did not feel threatened during the Jan. 6 rioting by supporters of the former president but might have if they were Black Lives Matter protesters.
"When it counted most, as Trump lied about the election, Johnson put his own political interests ahead of our democracy," the editorial board said. "Whether or not Johnson believes the nonsense he spews, there is little doubt he seeks to benefit politically from this cynical theater."
Because of his history of making false, misleading or divisive statements, Johnson "is not fit to be your senator," the newspaper wrote.
"As a Tea Party Republican and climate change denier in 2010, he attracted support from the fossil fuel industry. Later, by minimizing the pandemic and touting questionable treatments for COVID, he vouched for a former president’s lies and boosted his own credibility with the Trump base in his home state," it concluded. "Johnson continues to put his own interests ahead of yours. He continues to put himself first and democracy second."