Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson (Ga.) said Saturday that barring resistance from police, he has “no doubt” that the riotous Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week would’ve continued on to “lynch” black lawmakers like him.
Johnson made the comments in an interview with the Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC during which he also claimed that the riots last Wednesday were “nothing but a race war that was about to be unleashed.”
He argued that had law enforcement not fired a shot killing one of the rioters, a 14-year Air Force veteran from San Diego named Ashli Babbitt, things would have ended much differently for him and other members of Congress, especially those who are black.
“Had it not been for the gunshot of the one shot fired by that plainclothes officer in the Speaker’s lobby right behind the House gallery … if those people had been able to get through, they would have had us who were in the gallery up on the third floor trapped,” he said.
“Rev. Al, when they finally got us out of there, we walked past spread-eagled rioters on the floor at gunpoint by the Capitol Hill police officers as we went down the steps. They had us surrounded up there on the third floor. And if that police officer had not fired and stopped the onslaught in the Speaker’s lobby, they would’ve cut off our escape route,” he continued. “They would’ve had us upstairs, and I have no doubt that some of us who look like me would’ve been hanging from the railings of the third floor, onto the House floor, swinging like … strange fruit. We would’ve been swinging from those railings.”
.@TheRevAl @MSNBC The nation, GA & South have made a lot of progress but the attempted coup showed how far we still have to go and how white supremacy still rules the day in America. pic.twitter.com/gHno4UE1qV
— Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) January 9, 2021
“[There were] somewhere between 30 and 40 [members of Congress inside the room]. They could’ve had their pick of who they wanted to make an example of. And they came to the Capitol to do business, and the business that they were about was to lynch some people,” he added. “They talk about Mike Pence, they talk about Nancy Pelosi, but you and I know, Reverend Al, that one of us would’ve been hanging with them.”
Both Johnson and Sharpton noted that a noose and gallows had been erected outside the Capitol on the day of riots; however, it was not immediately clear if the structure was intended to be anything other than a protest prop. Some rioters also carried Confederate flags inside the Capitol after breaching security.