“We’re spending tens of billions of dollars on research. Are we spending any money on vaccine injuries at all?”
Today, I sit down with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs as well as the Budget and Finance Committees.
In this deep-dive interview, we discuss what he sees as a global push for mass vaccination and a concerted effort to suppress early treatment. Johnson has been at the forefront of efforts to change America’s COVID-19 policies and has hosted a number of hearings and roundtables on early outpatient treatment for COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccine injuries.
He also shares his thoughts on the banking crisis, the Russia-Ukraine War, and what he sees as the path forward for America.
Jan Jekielek: Senator Ron Johnson, such a pleasure to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Senator Ron Johnson: Thanks for having me on.
Mr. Jekielek: I have to say that I’m going to dub you a COVID response skeptic. All the way from the beginning, you were already asking pretty big questions publicly about this whole idea of shutdowns. I want to focus in on a particular time and see if you remember in mid-March of 2020, there was this moment where the whole narrative was, “It’s just another virus. Nothing to worry about.” Then, it suddenly shifts to, “We have to lock down our borders,” and then, pretty quickly to, “We have to lock down the country.”
Senator Johnson: Oh, I remember it. First of all, I’ll take that moniker. Skeptic to me is a synonym for science. Science is about being skeptical. One of the greatest tragedies of the entire pandemic episode is we haven’t even been allowed to ask the questions.
I remember very early on in the pandemic watching the video coming out of China with everybody in their moonsuits, it was alarming, there’s no doubt about it. We didn’t know what we were dealing with. We had certainly heard of Ebola and MERS [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome]. Ebola had about a 40 percent death rate or infection fatality rate. MERS had something like a 30 percent rate. SARS was eight to 10 percent.
Were we dealing with something like that? We just didn’t know, until we had the Princess Cruise. You had John Ioannidis analyzing that, and his analysis of what happened on the Princess Cruise has pretty well stood the test of time.
This was a deadly disease if you were elderly, and if you had certain comorbidities. But if you were young and healthy, it was going to be a flu-like type of disease. I glommed onto that analysis. I knew that there was no way you could shut down the American economy, the way people like Anthony Fauci were talking about it, a 50-day shutdown to flatten the curve.
What exactly are you going to shut down? We’re still going to need hospitals operating. We’re still going to need pharmacies operating. We’re still going to need grocery stores operating. We’re still going to need gas stations. The economy had to continue to operate.
Somewhere in that timeframe, in a comment to a reporter somewhere, it was said, “Listen, we tragically lose 36,000 people a year on the highway, but we don’t shut down our highway system. We need a transportation system. We’re going to have to gut our way through this thing and follow science as best we can.”
“Protect the vulnerable, but we’re going to have to carry on with life.” Of course, Fauci heard that, which was brought up in one of those famous press conferences. He said that analogy was beyond the pale or some such comment.
Now, I remember on one of our senate calls with Anthony Fauci about this timeframe, and you get your opportunity to ask one question. My question was directed to Anthony Fauci. I said, “Dr. Fauci, you’re proposing these shutdowns.”
“Are you taking into account the human devastation, the human toll, the economic devastation that you’re contemplating here?” He just cavalierly said, “Senator, that is somebody else’s department. I don’t worry about that.”
If you’re a doctor, you may be specialized, but you have to treat the whole patient. You have to understand what your cure is going to do to the patient. He couldn’t have cared less. Very early on, nothing about our response made sense. I was an early advocate for early treatment.
I heard about the possibility of the drug hydroxychloroquine. If you remember, there was a state senator in Michigan that was treated with hydroxychloroquine. I heard about Dr. Zelenko, and Didier Raoult in France. I’m reading about these things. My concern was that we wouldn’t have enough of it.
I’m calling up the head of Novartis and texting him. They donated 30 million doses to the national stockpile, but it wasn’t being distributed. My main concern was, again, would we have enough manufacturing capacity for a cheap generic drug like hydroxychloroquine?
I had never heard of ivermectin at that point, and at that time I hadn’t heard of budesonide. I hadn’t heard of all these other molecules. I had heard of vitamin D, which by the way, Anthony Fauci took and told no one. Isn’t that curious? He upped his intake of vitamin D. Why wasn’t he talking about that early on?
I’ve been vilified, and I’ve been ridiculed throughout this process. During Omicron was when the pandemic had really become politicized. Democrats were freaked out by it. The Republicans were walking around saying, “There’s no way I am going to wear a mask.”
I was on a telephone town hall with a few thousand constituents, and I was telling my constituents, and a lot of them were probably Republicans, I said, “Take Omicron seriously. It’s probably more contagious, probably less lethal, but it can still be a deadly disease. Take it seriously. There are things you can do. You can take vitamin D, vitamin C, and gargle. There are things you can do.”
I mentioned gargling, because there was a study on the CDC’s own website saying that gargling can reduce the viral load. Why not? What’s the worst thing that can happen? Fresher breath. But I’ve got Democrat operatives in those town halls.
Within 10 minutes after that town hall, we had national media calling my office, “What’s this thing about Senator Johnson saying, Listerine will replace the vaccine?” Of course, I didn’t say that, but that was the narrative for two weeks.
For whatever reason, there was a concerted effort to not promote or research or push any kind of early treatment, anything that might mitigate and lessen the severity of the disease. It was just, “Get tested. We’ll spend tens of billions of dollars on tests.” But then if you test positive, do nothing, go home afraid, isolate yourself, and hope you don’t get so sick that you have to go to the hospital.
But if you do go to the hospital, then we’ll slap Remdesivir in your arm, costing over 3000 bucks. You’ve had doctors on here, I’m sure, talking about how that can be pretty harmful to your kidneys. We’ll put you on a vent, knowing that 80 to 90 percent of people that went on ventilation never got off it.
Nothing made sense to me. I’ll be 68-years-old soon, and as long as I’ve been alive, it has been early detection that allows for early treatment, which produces better results and better healing. That’s how we treat every other illness and cancer. You’re trying to go for early detection.
But for COVID it was early detection, and then do nothing. It was insane. With our response to COVID I would say that’s probably the best word to sum it up—insane, a miserable failure.
Mr. Jekielek: But the response went in the face of all established, suggested responses, including the CDC’s own guidelines. There was a very small number of people, especially at the beginning, who were asking these sorts of questions. What was it that you knew? You said you were reading these different things, but what was it that you knew to look at, that a whole lot of people didn’t?
Senator Johnson: It was because I didn’t have the level of fear others had. I certainly had a concern up front. Again, you saw the Chinese in the moonsuits. You heard from these doctors that were treating, and then young doctors just dying. I had that concern. But then, with John Ioannidis’ study on the Princess Cruise ship, he said, “Okay, we’ll get through this.” I didn’t have the level of fear that they imposed on the rest of society.
That was their main tool. The technocrats and the Faucis of the world made sure that the world was deathly afraid of this. As a result, when you’re deathly afraid, you’re looking for some relief from that fear. Then, you have a guy like Fauci saying, “I’ve got the cure here. I’ve got a vaccine.”
What was insane about it is that we didn’t pursue early treatment. We didn’t look at all the different molecules, all the different generic drugs that were on the shelf. They have been used for decades, safely. They had the kind of properties that you’d be expecting in terms of being antiviral or anticoagulant or working with respiratory illnesses. We just threw all that aside.
There was nothing in the pandemic plan that called for shutdowns. Fauci said up front, “Masks aren’t going to work.” They didn’t. All you needed to know was, “Here is the particle size of the virus and here is the opening pores of the mask. This isn’t going to work.” It might be marginally effective, but it wasn’t something that you would impose on everybody in your society.
The way we shut the economy down, we shut down all the little mom and pop shops, but we let the big box stores open. Bobby Kennedy writes in his, “A Letter to Liberals,” that a 2021 study showed there was almost a $4 trillion transfer of wealth from the middle class to the Big Tech social media giants. Those are the people that were in charge of the narrative.
That is what has opened my eyes up. I’ve been referring to them as the “Covid Cartel.” I’m talking about the Biden administration, the federal health agencies, big pharma that has captured the federal health agencies, and legacy media. The Big Tech social media giants and big pharma captured the media as well.
They controlled the narrative, and they controlled the narrative in a way that was highly beneficial to them. Amazon did great during the pandemic. The social media companies did great during the pandemic. Why? Because society was shut down. You had to use social media. You had to use Big Tech.
Mr. Jekielek: There was also a societal hysteria around this fueled by some of these different players. This is another debate that’s out there. On one end of the debate there are these puppeteer overlords that are pushing their message onto the society, and society just responds. On the other side, we’ve simply turned into a safetyist kind of society, where the smallest threat can create a mass hysteria like this. Where do you land on this spectrum?
Senator Johnson: Unfortunately, it’s very easy to manipulate a population. We’ve seen this for decades. Go back to the beginning of newspapers and mass media. You tell the big lie, and as people have said, “The truth hasn’t even put on its shoes, and the lie travels around the world many times.” Unfortunately, it’s very easy to manipulate a population, and the best way to manipulate them is with fear.
I look at the pandemic as just an extension of climate change. Again, I don’t deny climate change. I’m just not an alarmist. Climate has always changed. You look at the Vostok ice core sample, we’re in our fifth cycle of temperature variations of 22.7 degrees in over four hundred and some thousand years.
I know this is a diversion, but do you know how much the sea level has risen in the Bay of San Francisco since the last glaciation period 10 to 20,000 years ago? 390 feet. Again, the climate has always changed. We have to adapt. We can’t hold back the tides.
And yet, there’s a political movement that has seized on climate change. It used to be global cooling. I’m old enough to remember that, either a nuclear winter or a climate-induced winter, and we wouldn’t be able to grow crops. Then, that changed into global warming, and then, they couldn’t quite decide.
They just said, “Let’s use the catchall phrase, climate change,” and they used that to scare people. You have this little Scandinavian girl that says the world’s going to end in 12 years. AOC has done the same thing. The world’s not going to end in 12 years. We will adapt.
Unfortunately, for the climate change alarmists, they weren’t able to seize control to the extent they wanted to. They looked at the pandemic and said, “This is even better. We can really scare the you-know-what out of the global population, and we can gain control. We can start doing things like vaccine passports, and we can restrict travel.”
People ought to be very concerned, because now what are we going through? A potential bank crisis. Be very concerned about a central bank digital currency, where they can just turn on and turn off your ability to purchase certain goods based on your social credit score. That’s what happens in China.
Do we want that in the U.S.? There certainly are people like the technocrats in the U.S. that would like to see that. With this banking crisis, all of a sudden we’re ensuring every deposit, no matter how large. Start asking some questions and be skeptical.
Mr. Jekielek: I want to go back to this question of why you knew to look in all sorts of places? Like you said, you were reading John Ioannidis very early, but it seems like most people weren’t, even people that should be, and even people whose job it is to do so.
Senator Johnson: First of all, I’m not a fan of the federal government. I think our founders were geniuses. They knew we were imperfect men and women. If we don’t want to live in anarchy and chaos, we need some government, but it better be limited.
Because they came from tyrannical regimes, they understood that as the government grows, your freedom recedes. The one essential ingredient in America is freedom. And unfortunately, I’ve been witnessing it over my lifetime, slowly but surely, that our fellow citizens are willingly giving their freedom away for a false sense of security.
I try to remind people, Venezuela is an oil rich nation, a successful South American nation. Those people, the Venezuelans, voted themselves into poverty. They did it to themselves. Okay, we could do the same thing here.
I ran in 2010 on a platform of freedom. I’ve never abandoned that platform and I’m watching the potential of shutdowns to limit people’s freedom. You shut down churches, but you keep liquor stores open. What is that about?
Again, every action the Faucis of the world prescribed didn’t make sense to me. I remained skeptical. I was fortunate enough, because I was chairman of a committee, to hold hearings. Early in February, we had Scott Gottlieb and others talking about how we don’t produce drugs in this country, not the precursor chemicals, and not the active pharmaceutical ingredients.
That’s a vulnerability. We ought to address that. We still haven’t. A trillion dollar-plus infrastructure bill, and we didn’t address that problem. But then, I held my May hearing with John Ioannidis, because I was trying to put this into perspective. I was trying to calm things down.
I remember even talking about the differences between Ebola, MERS, SARS and Covid. That’s where I got introduced to Dr. Pierre Kory, who testified very late. I heard about him a couple of days before the hearing, and I tacked him on. He was one of these doctors practicing in New York, a courageous doctor with the compassion to actually treat COVID patients.
He had an affiliation with the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He came on and talked about his use of corticosteroids. Of course, he was vilified for it. That wasn’t the standard of care, and Fauci hadn’t blessed it. But about eight weeks later, they had the study come out of the UK on dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, and all of a sudden people were using it.
I got connected to a group of doctors, a global network of eminently qualified doctors and medical researchers who had a completely different take on Covid; the writers of the Great Barrington Declaration, and Michael Yeadon, a 30-year employee of Pfizer, who retired as a senior vice president of research with a background in toxicology.
I’m talking to him. He was beside himself when he heard what his colleagues were going to do with this gene therapy. He couldn’t believe it. He said, “I’m not understanding this. There’s no way we’re going to produce something that is going to have the body produce its own toxin,” which is what the spike protein does, “and then it is encapsulated in something that is designed to permeate barriers.”
Remember we were told the vaccine was going to stay in the arm. They knew it wouldn’t. They had the biodistribution studies on the lipid nanoparticles from the Japanese regulators that had to FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] it. They knew it was going to biodistribute all over the body.
Now, you’ve got this gene therapy potentially biodistributing to the ovaries, heart, brain, and permeating the blood-brain barrier. We’ve got mad cow disease cases now being written about.
Let’s say this thing attaches to heart muscle. It does two things. It juices the mitochondria, which is the engine of the cell, so that it has the energy to produce a spike protein that’s toxic to the body. Now, the body’s going to attack the heart muscle. That’s how you get myocarditis. Again, I’m not a doctor or a medical researcher, but this stuff can be explained in layman’s terms.
What happens if that gene therapy attaches to a cancer cell? It’s juicing the cancer cells mitochondria. I’m certainly hearing and reading about cancers coming out of remission and roaring back to stage four. We’re hearing about all the gynecological issues that are occurring, but it’s all being covered up.
I got connected to a group of doctors who were educating me, telling me of their concerns. Geert Vanden Bossche wrote his four-page letter to the WHO saying, “The last thing you want to do in the midst of a pandemic is do mass vaccination. You will drive variants.” Don’t we have a lot of variants? What is that caused by?
You’re going to always have variants anyway; the Muller’s ratchet, the natural evolution of a virus would be to become more contagious but less lethal, because the virus variant wants to survive. It doesn’t survive very well if it kills its host. It wants to keep the host alive, but it wants to get a lot more hosts.
These are just basic scientific principles of virology and immunology that were completely ignored. They could be very easily explained to a layman like me that could understand, along with things like natural immunity.
I had an asymptomatic case of COVID in late September, early October 2020. I was around people, and because I’m going to the White House and that type of thing, I’m always being tested. I was around people that had COVID. I got tested, tested positive, and never had a symptom. From that experience, I suppose I had less fear, plus I had natural immunity.
When I was asked, after the vaccine came out, probably around February, “Senator, are you going to get vaccinated?” My response was not to denigrate the vaccine, but first of all to be as honest as I could and say, “Listen, there aren’t enough vaccines right now for the elderly who want them, so I’ll hold off.”
What I could have said was, which would have been completely honest, “There’s no way I’m going to get that vaccine.” I didn’t say that. I didn’t discourage the use. I just didn’t promote it. Because again, I’m not a doctor and I’m not a medical researcher, but I was skeptical. During that interview, I said, “Besides I’ve already had COVID and I’ve got natural immunity. It’s probably going to be better than the vaccine.”
I was savaged for that. I was called an anti-vaxxer, which is probably just underneath murder, rapist, racist, and pedophile—the last thing you want to be called is anti-vaxxer. That is part of our problem now in terms of getting to the truth, in terms of the pandemic and other things as well. But no, again, I was exposed. I was talking to people.
I had the good fortune of being connected to these doctors and medical researchers that just had a completely different take, which is why in January of 2022, I held the event COVID-19: A Second Opinion. I thought it was about time that the public heard a different opinion on how we should be handling this pandemic, a different opinion on vaccines and vaccine injuries.
Mr. Jekielek: Some of this information came out in your January 2022 hearing. You had another hearing in December of 2022, and it was very slow to come out. Natural immunity is finally something that’s understood to be superior to vaccination, which is what you would expect, as we’ve already known about it. But there are still many areas, including early treatment, that are unknown or vilified in the way that you just described; as being horse dewormer or anti-vax. There are a whole bunch of slurs out there.
Senator Johnson: It’s a Nobel Prize-winning drug, and the FDA is denigrating it. Here is my history of hearings; in February with Scott Gottlieb, in May with Pierre Kory and John Ioannidis, then in November with Peter McCulloch and Harvey Risch and George Fareed on early treatment. They were really focusing on hydroxychloroquine. We were all vilified as the snake-oil salesmen of the Senate by Dr. Jha, who never treated a COVID patient.
Then, in December of 2020, there was a hearing with Pierre Kory, focusing on ivermectin. By the way, Dr. Kory thought the pandemic was over. He had the studies on the use of ivermectin. He was using it, and others were using it. He said, “You don’t even need the vaccine. We’ve got this covered.” He was way too optimistic in terms of the World Health Organization and NIH actually looking at the science.
I started looking at the VAERS system. Francis Collins was very cavalier in his comment to me around March or April, when there are already thousands of deaths reported on the VAERS system. He said, “Well, Senator, people die.”
I got connected to the vaccine injured groups through Bri Dressen and Ken Ruettgers and his wife. I held an event in June of 2021, letting these people tell their stories. Let the vaccine injured tell their stories. We were all vilified for that.
I had another one in DC in November 2021 with not only vaccine injured, but also medical experts. Then I followed up with the Second Opinion event in January 2022. The final one was in December of 2022 about vaccines; what they are, how they operate, and how they can cause injury. I’ve been pretty consistent on this.
I have written over 50 oversight letters, and things on lot-to-lot variations. What are they doing granting full approval for Comirnaty, but still extending the emergency use for what’s available here in the U.S.? Why are you pulling the wool over the eyes of the American public? What are you trying to do here? I’ve asked so many relevant questions, and gotten so very few answers on this. Again, it just increases my skepticism.
Mr. Jekielek: The information in many cases is actually out there. The studies have been done to show mechanisms of harm with the vaccines in a whole bunch of areas. With Pfizer itself we did the FOIA, and we saw they knew about 500 different types of harm. You’ve written 50 oversight letters. My question is about impact. Do you feel like this is having an impact? You’re a very lonely voice, not alone in Congress, but a lonely voice.
Senator Johnson: I try to tell other people on this journey with me that, “Those of us who have our eyes open and have been fighting this battle, take some comfort in the low uptake of the Covid vaccines in the very young. We are having some impact. Parents aren’t subjecting their children to this.
That’s a good thing. I would also say the excuse for suppressing all this information, the excuse for censoring it, and the excuse for vilifying people like me and others is that, “We can’t do anything that will increase vaccine hesitancy.”
If you really want to get to the core issue here, that’s it. They have failed miserably. By lying to the American public, by labeling truth as disinformation, and by not being transparent and honest, they’ve increased vaccine hesitancy. A guy like me who was never an anti-vaxxer, I’ve gotten them all. My kids got them all.