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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson booed at Juneteenth Day event

(Toni Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)
Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 11:24 AM CDT
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — U.S. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin joined in a Juneteenth Day celebration in his home state only to see his speech drowned out by a chorus of boos.

Johnson made an appearance Saturday at a Republican Party booth in Milwaukee, where he drew a growing crowd once people recognized him. Some people swore at him and said, “We don’t want you here.”

A media release from the senator said he is not against celebrating the day, but he didn’t think [federal] workers needed another paid day off at taxpayers’ expense.

“Most people are getting really tired of the division,” Johnson said. “I think people are looking to really heal this nation and certainly that’s what I want to do. We can’t continue down this path. So again, I think this is a day to celebrate.”

Last year Johnson blocked legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Earlier in the week he relented while saying “it still seems strange” that taxpayers should fund time off for federal employees to celebrate the end of slavery. The bill was quickly passed and signed by President Joe Biden.

When asked what he thought of the boos Saturday, Johnson said: “This is unusual for Wisconsin. Most people in Wisconsin say, ‘You are in our prayers; we are praying for you.’ ... But you got some people here that are just sort of nasty at some points.”

One attendee, Robert Agnew, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he thought the reason for the taunting was because “Ron Johnson’s politics are not for us.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.