GOP Sen. Ron Johnson to Dem: “God help you for implying I’m a racist”

The Wisconsin senator was very perturbed by criticism from Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller

Topics: Ron Johnson, Jay Rockefeller, Barack Obama, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, Racism, Senate, Republican Party, ,

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson to Dem: “God help you for implying I’m a racist”Ron Johnson (Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed)

Things got a little heated during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing on Wednesday, as the committee chairman, Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, and GOP Sen. Ron Johnson bickered over whether racism had anything to do with Johnson’s opposition to Obamacare.

Clearly still miffed by a remark Rockefeller had made earlier in the month — “some … don’t want anything good to happen under this president, because he’s the wrong color,” said the longtime senator from West Virginia — Johnson became further incensed when Rockefeller made a similar comment on Wednesday, saying some people “don’t like the president” because he’s “maybe … of the wrong color, something of that sort.”

“My opposition to health care has nothing to do with the race of President Obama,” Johnson strenuously responded. “I objected to this because it’s an assault on our freedom … I found it very offensive that you would basically imply that I’m a racist because I oppose this health care law.”

Rockefeller didn’t back down, however, retorting that Johnson was “evidently satisfied with a lot of people not having health insurance.”

“I am not,” Johnson shot back. “Quit making those assumptions. Quit saying I’m satisfied with that. I’m not. There’s another way of doing this.”

“Please,” the Republican continued, “don’t assume — don’t make implications of what I’m thinking and what I would really support. You have no idea.”

“I actually do,” Rockefeller snarked. “God help you.”

“No, senator, god help you for implying I’m a racist,” Johnson replied in turn.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith, and email him at

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