Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was greeted by boos and cries of "We don't want you here!" when he stopped by a Juneteenth celebration in Milwaukee on Saturday.
Johnson was there to visit a Republican Party booth, and he told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was surprised by the heckling. "This is unusual for Wisconsin," he said. "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."
Juneteenth is a celebration marking the end of slavery in the United States, when the last enslaved people in Texas learned they were free. Last week, Congress voted to make Juneteenth — June 19th — a federal holiday, and President Biden signed it into law.
Initially, Johnson was against making Juneteenth a federal holiday, saying he didn't think taxpayers should have to cover the cost of federal workers having another day off, and last year he blocked the legislation. This time around, Johnson said he would no longer object to the bill, but still felt it was "strange" that "having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery."
Johnson may have been taken aback by the reaction from the crowd, but those who knew about his original opposition to making Juneteenth a federal holiday understood it. "Ron Johnson's politics are not for us," attendee Robert Agnew told the Journal Sentinel.