U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who is terrible, is hosting a terrible press conference on Monday with six people who say they’ve experienced adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine. The event is scheduled to take place at the federal courthouse in Milwaukee—a city that, despite what ESPN may think and despite the fact that Ron Johnson will be in it, is not terrible.
Dr. Johnson’s “just asking questions” routine will feature Sheryl Ruettgers, the wife of former Green Bay Packers player Ken Ruettgers. Johnson says Sheryl Ruettgers will be on hand to discuss “severe neurological reactions that still inhibit her ability to live a normal life, including muscle pain, numbness, weakness and paresthesia” after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month.
Five other folks from around the country with similar stories have been invited to speak. The more than 150 million fully vaccinated Americans who have not experienced adverse reactions, and who have done the bare minimum as citizens and as decent human beings by protecting themselves and others, have not.
“We’re all supporters of vaccines,” the Oshkosh Republican tweeted in reply to a critical tweet by Gov. Tony Evers last week. “As I’ve repeatedly said, I’m glad that hundreds of millions of Americans have been vaccinated, but I don’t think authorities can ignore and censor some of the issues. On Monday, we’ll bring light to stories that deserve to be seen, heard & believed.”
We’re all supporters of vaccines. As I’ve repeatedly said, I’m glad that hundreds of millions of Americans have been vaccinated, but I don’t think authorities can ignore & censor some of the issues. On Monday, we’ll bring light to stories that deserve to be seen, heard & believed https://t.co/LJzmh6FOFs
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) June 25, 2021
Among the more than 150 million fully vaccinated Americans, a total of 3,907 have been hospitalized with COVID-19 after vaccination, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 750 fully vaccinated people have died after contracting COVID-19.
“You are just as likely to be killed by a meteorite as die from COVID after a vaccine,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at the University of California San Francisco, recently told CNBC.
Last week, the Associated Press reported that “nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now are in people who weren’t vaccinated, a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been and an indication that deaths per day—now down to under 300—could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine.”
Johnson has not been vaccinated himself. In recent weeks he has [deep breath] been temporarily banned by YouTube after spreading vaccine misinformation during a Milwaukee Press Club interview, been heckled at a Juneteenth celebration for previously blocking legislation to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday, and been cheered by fellow Republicans after imploring them to (wink wink) “take back our culture.”
On Monday, Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson issued this statement:
Senator Ron Johnson, who publicly confirmed he is unvaccinated, has used his platform today to raise misleading concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. The scientific facts about the COVID-19 vaccine remain: it is safe, it is effective, and complications are extremely rare. More importantly, it saves lives. The burden of disease, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19 are the lowest the City of Milwaukee has experienced since the start of this pandemic. This is due in part to the hundreds of thousands of Milwaukeeans who have been vaccinated. Without vaccine, our COVID-19 cases would be substantially higher. As leaders and health professionals, we should question the motives of an individual who refuses to be vaccinated hosting a press conference attempting to debunk the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. We urge Milwaukeeans to talk to people they love and trust, listen to the experts and science, discuss questions and concerns with licensed medical or health professionals, and continue to get vaccinated to save lives in our community.
Also on Monday, Milwaukee Board of School Directors President Bob Peterson and Vice President Sequanna Taylor called on Johnson to cancel his press conference, and to “end his disinformation campaign about COVID-19 vaccinations.”
“The county, city, and public school systems are deeply concerned about the well-being of the people we represent,” Peterson and Taylor said in a press release. “We’ve been working with health care providers, non-profit organizations, and faith-based communities to promote vaccinations and are dismayed that Sen. Johnson is undermining such efforts.”
Despite Johnson’s terrible presence, Milwaukee will remain a not-terrible city. It is a deeply flawed city, but it is filled with people who are dedicated to honestly discussing those flaws and making the city a better place for all. Ron Johnson is not among them.
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