Ron Johnson Breaks With Trump on Muslim Ban

Vulnerable GOP senator says outreach is the best way to counter terrorism

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson disagrees with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's renewed call to ban foreign Muslims from entering the U.S. in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Ron Johnson on Monday criticized Donald Trump's call for a temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the United States.  

In a radio interview , the Wisconsin Republican, who is in a tough re-election battle against former Sen. Russ Feingold whom he unseated in 2010, said there was a difference between Islamic terror groups and Muslims in general, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.  

[ Dems Look to Flip Script on Terror After Trump Response ]  

"The best way to prevent the homegrown, inspired attacks is literally positive engagement with Muslim communities," Johnson told Green Bay, Wisconsin, talk radio host Jerry Bader.  

As for more gun laws, Johnson said there needs to be a balance between security and constitutional liberties.

[ Roll Call’s 2016 Election Guide ]

"The people that are proposing banning assault weapons, well, first of all they're already banned," he said. "Assault weapon is a fully automatic, those are already banned."  

Johnson also responded to criticism that his statement released after the Sunday shootings at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, did not mention that LGBT people were targeted.  

[ Republicans who didn't say "LGBT" in their Orlando statements ]  

"When you slaughter Americans, I don't care what their background is, every American citizen has a constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," he said.  

Johnson is considered one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents in the Senate this year. His race is rated Tilt Democrat by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call.

Contact Garcia at  EricGarcia@cqrollcall.com  and follow him on Twitter  @EricMGarcia .

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