Sen. Ron Johnson says it's "inaccurate' to call the January 6 riot an "armed insurrection."
"Now, some protesters did teach us all how you can use flag poles" as weapons, he said Tuesday.
A "wide array of lethal weapons," including a firearm, were found on protesters at the Capitol, according to Factcheck.org.
Sen. Ron Johnson rejected the idea that the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters in 2021 was an "armed insurrection," even though he says some rioters demonstrated "how you can use flag poles" as weapons.
The Wisconsin Republican, who's been endorsed by former President Donald Trump for reelection, told an audience at a Milwaukee Rotary Club on Tuesday that "there weren't thousands of armed insurrectionists" at the Capitol that day, arguing that firearms weren't confiscated in the US Capitol or on Capitol grounds.
"Now, some protesters did teach us all how you can use flag poles, that kind of stuff, as weapons," he said, according to a video posted on Twitter by an NBC News reporter. "But to call what happened on January 6 an 'armed insurrection' I just think is not accurate."
Johnson noted that an FBI agent told him during a hearing that no weapons were recovered, to her knowledge, on that day. But a "wide array of lethal weapons" that include a firearm were found on protesters at the Capitol, according to Factcheck.org.
"Conservative social media posts misleadingly claim the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was not an 'armed' insurrection, citing FBI testimony that no guns were seized from suspects that day," the website states. "But 23 people have been charged with having deadly or dangerous weapons during the assault - including a loaded handgun found on a man arrested on Capitol grounds."
Johnson has drawn scrutiny from the January 6 investigators for his alleged involvement in a scheme to submit fake electors who would help overturn President Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election.
He said in August that talking to the House committee would be a waste of time because he was only involved in the plot for "a couple of seconds."