When Sen. Ron Johnson made an appearance at a Juneteenth Day celebration in Milwaukee on Saturday it seemed clear some were not happy to see him. Johnson at first told reporters that he had mostly positive experiences with members of the public at the event except for “one nasty comment.” But as he talked to reporters at a Republican Party booth, more people started to recognize him and made their feelings clear by booing him. The boos got so loud that Johnson was drowned out. “We don’t want you here,” some in the crowd said. When Johnson left people kept heckling him and continued to yell and boo as he went around the event.
Johnson went to the Juneteenth celebration even though last year he had blocked legislation that would have made it a national holiday. And the bill making Juneteenth a holiday only passed the Senate this past week after the Wisconsin Republican dropped his efforts to block it. “Although I strongly support celebrating Emancipation, I objected to the cost and lack of debate. While it still seems strange that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter. Therefore, I do not intend to object,” Johnson said in a statement Tuesday. Shortly after he dropped the objection, the Senate approved making Juneteenth a national holiday.
When asked about the less-than-friendly reception at the Juneteenth celebration, Johnson said it was “unusual for Wisconsin” and caught him off-guard. “Most people in Wisconsin say, ‘You are in our prayers; we are praying for you’,” he said. “But you got some people here that are just sort of nasty at some points.”