Sen. Josh Hawley learns stoking insurrection has consequences
The Missouri senator is facing heat for encouraging the riot in the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is facing calls to resign his seat after his role in the unsuccessful attempts in Congress on Wednesday to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election and in spurring a deadly rampage by supporters of Donald Trump in the U.S. Capitol.
He appears to be more concerned that his actions cost him a book contract.
Since November, Hawley has elevated false conspiracy theories insisting that Trump had not really lost the election.
Last week, he was the first U.S. senator to announce that he would object to certification of the results of voting in the Electoral College when Congress met to count the votes and make official President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. “Millions of voters concerned about election integrity deserve to be heard. I will object on January 6 on their behalf,” he tweeted.
In a statement accompanying the tweet, Hawley said, “I cannot vote to certify electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws. And I cannot vote to certify without pointing out the unprecedented effort by mega corporations, including Facebook and Twitter, to interfere in this election, in support of Joe Biden.”
Believing these false claims, thousands of Trump supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol as Congress was debating certification. So far, five people have died as a result of the riot, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
Hawley has since faced a barrage of criticism from Democrats, Republicans, and media in his home state, including calls for him to resign or be removed from office.
The Kansas City Star’s editorial board published a pair of editorials on Thursday titled, “Assault on democracy: Sen. Josh Hawley has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt” and “If Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley had a conscience, he’d resign. He’ll have to be removed.”
“If Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley had shown any evidence that there’s a conscience in there somewhere, underneath the ambition and the artifice and the uncommon combo of striving and laziness that he’s somehow made work for him, then we wouldn’t be where we are right now,” the board wrote in the second editorial. “We wouldn’t, that is, be wondering what to say to a man who, having so disgraced his office, and our state, must either resign or be removed from the U.S. Senate.”
The editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch agreed, saying on Thursday that “Hawley’s presidential aspirations have been flushed down the toilet because of his role in instigating Wednesday’s assault on democracy. He should do Missourians and the rest of the country a big favor and resign now.
“Trumpism must die before it morphs into Hitlerism. Defenders like Hawley deserve to be cast into political purgatory for having promoted it,” the board said.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who has earned a reputation as one of the Democrats in the Senate most likely to compromise with its Republicans, minced no words Thursday when asked if Hawley and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, another ringleader in the efforts to subvert the 2020 election results, should step down. “Yes, I think they should resign,” he said in response to a reporter’s question.
Notably, two prominent Missouri Republicans who helped Hawley get elected also disowned him on Thursday over his actions.
Former three-term Sen. John Danforth, who had been a mentor to Hawley, told the Post-Dispatch, “Supporting Josh and trying so hard to get him elected to the Senate was the worst mistake I ever made in my life.”
“Yesterday was the physical culmination of the long attempt [by Hawley and others] to foment a lack of public confidence in our democratic system. It is very dangerous to America to continue pushing this idea that government doesn’t work and that voting was fraudulent,” Danforth added.
David Humphreys, a roofing business owner and GOP megadonor, was one of Hawley’s biggest financial backers. He supported Hawley’s 2018 Senate campaign with more than $2 million in donations through outside political groups and gave millions more to Hawley’s 2016 attorney general campaign.
Humphreys told the Missouri Independent that Hawley is a “political opportunist” who used “irresponsible, inflammatory, and dangerous tactics” to provoke the riots. He urged the Senate to censure him.
A Hawley spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.
But Hawley did angrily react to another consequence of his actions.
The publishing house Simon & Schuster released a statement on Thursday announcing that in light of the “disturbing, deadly insurrection,” and “his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom,” it had “decided to cancel publication of Senator Hawley’s forthcoming book, THE TYRANNY OF BIG TECH.”
Hawley, who ran for office claiming to be “one of the nation’s leading constitutional lawyers,” falsely claimed that this corporate decision was a violation of his First Amendment rights made by a “woke mob.”
“This could not be more Orwellian,” he complained, while vowing to sue the publisher over its “direct assault on the First Amendment.”
The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It offers no guarantees of book contracts.
Former Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican-turned-independent, mocked Hawley’s claim on Thursday night, tweeting, “This doesn’t violate the First Amendment, which he must know. But part of woke populism, Hawley’s act, is a willingness to make fantastically disingenuous claims to achieve maximum victimhood.”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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