Josh Hawley: ploy to be pro-Trump hero backfires


Hours later, some of those same Trump supporters would cross Capitol Hill in a violent scene that will now be forever linked to the senator’s attempt to overturn a free and fair election.

Hawley is now an outcast among many of his colleagues, openly mocked and ridiculed in his home state and a source of shame to the longtime political supporters who helped propel him to his post.

If the photo of Hawley entering the Capitol captured how the Senator thought this week would turn out, it was a photo taken hours later, of a masked Hawley sitting alone in the House bedroom once at the complex Capitol Secure, which summarized how the week actually went.

“Senator Hawley was doing something really stupid and I was very clear about it in public and in private long before the announcement that he was going to do it,” Republican Senator Ben Sasse told NPR on Friday. “It was a blow, and it was a terrible, terrible idea, and you don’t lie to the American people. … Lies have consequences.”

Certainly, Hawley’s decision to be the face of the baseless Republican defiance of the election drew him to the party’s pro-Trump base, a powerful force if the Missouri Republican runs for president. But Trump’s grip on the party is an open question after the chaotic riot he stoked on Wednesday, putting any Republican who hoped to be the apparent heir to his political fortunes in a precarious position.

Hawley – whose office did not respond to requests to speak to Senator of his Week – announced on December 30 that he would oppose the Electoral College certification process, defying Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell . Nearly a dozen other Republican lawmakers, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, later announced they would oppose it as well.

For this reason – as well as the widespread view that Hawley was doing so as a way to brandish his credentials with pro-Trump Republicans ahead of a 2024 presidential election – Hawley bore the brunt of the blame for initiating the actions that led. . to thousands of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol complex on Wednesday afternoon and forced the House and Senate to urgently shut down.

And the response has been fierce and personal.

David Humphreys, a major contributor to Hawley’s political rise, decried the senator in the wake of the insurgency, calling him a “political opportunist” and accusing his “irresponsible, inflammatory and dangerous tactics” of starting the riots . And to cap off his criticism, Humphreys called for censorship from the Republican lawmaker.
Hawley also lost the support of his former mentor this week, when former Sen. John Danforth – a man whose support was essential for Hawley winning his 2018 Republican primary – said supporting the Republican lawmaker was “my worst mistake. life. . “

“Supporting Josh and trying so hard to get him elected to the Senate was the worst mistake I’ve ever made in my life,” Danforth said in a statement to St. Louis Today. “Yesterday was the physical culmination of the long attempt … to instigate a lack of public confidence in our democratic system.”

And in the aftermath of the uprising, which claimed the lives of five people, several newspapers in Hawley’s home state blamed the senator for the chaos or called on him to step down from his seat.

“No one other than President Donald Trump himself is more responsible for Wednesday’s attempted coup on Capitol Hill than one Joshua David Hawley,” the Kansas City Star Editorial Board wrote. , a newspaper that endorsed the potential senator in the 2018 Republican. Primary. “Hawley’s actions over the past week have had such an impact that he deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that has been shed.”
What we know about the 5 dead in the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol
And the editorial board of the St. Louis Post Dispatch mocked Hawley, accusing him of having “the nerve to come to the Senate on Wednesday night and fake the shock, the shock of what happened. “.

“Hawley’s belated and covert condemnation of violence tops his substantial list of phony, smarmy and politically expedient statements,” they wrote. “Hawley’s presidential aspirations were flushed down the toilet because of his role in instigating Wednesday’s assault on democracy. He should do the Missourians and the rest of the country a big favor and now resign.”

Hawley responded to the violence on Capitol Hill with a brief statement: “The violence must stop, those who have attacked police and broken the law must be prosecuted, and Congress must get back to work and finish its job.”

But the damage, both to the Capitol and to Hawley, had long been done. And as the anger at the senator smoldered, it began to spread beyond the Senate chamber and into the corporate world.

Simon & Schuster, the book publisher who was due to publish Hawley’s next book, announced Thursday that they will no longer distribute the book, an extraordinary move that appears to have been made to prevent protests against the company.

“After witnessing the disturbing and deadly insurgency that took place in Washington, DC on Wednesday, Simon & Schuster has decided to cancel the publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s next book,” the company said in a statement. “We did not take this decision lightly.”

Hawley criticized the decision as a “direct attack on the First Amendment” – the Yale Law School graduate ignoring that the First Amendment prevents the government from violating free speech, not private companies.

Hawley’s stock had fallen so low that even professional basketball coaches took the opportunity to dive into the Senator

“(Josh) Hawley is a joke,” San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said in his pre-game speech Thursday, saying the Missouri senator and Cruz let their “personal interest, their greed , their thirst for power outweighs their love of the country or their sense of duty to the constitution or public service. “

When the Senate reconvened, Hawley continued his objection, speaking as the Senate debated the Arizona results and later opposed the Pennsylvania results.

As Hawley spoke from the Senate – “What we do tonight is actually very important,” he told colleagues – the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Utah Senator Mitt Romney, sat stoically behind him, staring at the back of Hawley’s head. .

Romney, a usually composed politician, rose to speak soon after, and his anger at colleagues like Hawley was evident.

“What happened here today was an insurgency, instigated by the President of the United States,” Romney said. “Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous bet by opposing the results of a legitimate and democratic election will forever be seen as complicit in an unprecedented attack on our democracy.”

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