Josh Hawley Faces Blowback After Capitol Riot

WASHINGTON — The day after Josh Hawley turned the primary Republican senator to say he would indulge President Trump’s demand that lawmakers attempt to overturn the election, a reporter requested if he thought the gambit would make him unpopular together with his colleagues.

“More than I already am?” he retorted.

Even earlier than Mr. Hawley lodged what was sure to be a futile objection to Congress’s certification of the outcomes, the 41-year-old senator — considered a rising Republican star who might at some point run for president — was removed from the chamber’s hottest lawmaker.

His insistence on urgent the problem after a violent mob egged on by Mr. Trump stormed the Capitol to protest President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, endangering your complete Congress and the vice chairman in a day of terror that left at the least 5 folks lifeless, has earned him pariah standing in Washington.

But whereas Mr. Hawley’s position within the riot could have left him shunned — at the least for now — in official circles, it could solely have improved his stock together with his occasion’s base in his house state, which stays deeply loyal to Mr. Trump.

His fellow Republicans within the Senate lined as much as blame Mr. Hawley for the riot. The editorial boards of main newspapers in Missouri accused him of getting “blood on his hands” and known as on him to resign. His writer canceled his e-book deal and his erstwhile mentor known as his efforts to get Mr. Hawley elected to the Senate “the biggest mistake I’ve ever made.”

“But for him, it wouldn’t have happened,” former Senator John C. Danforth of Missouri, the Republican elder statesman, told The Kansas City Star of his former protégé’s position within the riot.

Mr. Hawley has remained defiant, arguing Wednesday evening that the electoral count in Congress was the right venue to debate his considerations about fraud within the balloting, although he by no means made a particular cost of wrongdoing.

“I will never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections,” Mr. Hawley stated in an announcement. “That’s my job, and I will keep doing it.”

But many Republicans dismissed his effort as grandstanding meant to additional his personal political ambitions. Some Democratic senators demanded his resignation. And on Friday, Mr. Biden stated that Mr. Hawley and Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, had been a part of “the big lie” that had animated Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede, invoking Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s minister of propaganda.

Mr. Hawley lashed out at Mr. Biden, accusing him of “undignified, immature, and intemperate behavior” and calling on him to “retract these sick comments.”

Hours after the mob was cleared from the Capitol on Wednesday, Mr. Hawley refused to drop his problem to the election outcomes, objecting to Pennsylvania’s slate of electors and forcing each chambers right into a two-hour debate on his name to throw out thousands and thousands of the state’s votes.

An picture of Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, sitting behind Mr. Hawley and evident because the Missourian gazed into tv cameras and made his case from the Senate ground turned an prompt meme. Mr. Hawley’s problem was rejected by broad bipartisan margins, with solely six Republican senators becoming a member of him in supporting it.

By Thursday, the fallout reached past the scorn of his colleagues. The writer Simon & Schuster stated it was canceling publication of his e-book “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” citing “his role in what became a dangerous threat.” Mr. Hawley responded with an angry statement that known as his former writer a “woke mob” and described their resolution as “a direct assault on the First Amendment.”

“This could not be more Orwellian,” Mr. Hawley stated. “This is the left trying to cancel everyone they don’t approve of.”

Yet a number of the harshest criticism got here from his personal occasion. His bid was in direct defiance of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican chief, who had implored his members to not problem the election outcomes and power a divisive vote when there was no probability of adjusting the result. Searing blowback got here from different Republicans who’re additionally thought of 2024 presidential contenders and will discover themselves working towards Mr. Hawley in a crowded major.

“Senator Hawley was doing something that was really dumbass,” Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, instructed NPR. “This was a stunt. It was a terrible, terrible idea. And you don’t lie to the American people. And that’s what’s been going on.”

Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, additionally lashed out at Mr. Hawley in a Fox News interview on Thursday — although he didn’t name him out by identify — for indulging the hassle to overturn the election.

“You have some senators who, for political advantage, were giving false hope to their supporters, misleading them into thinking that somehow yesterday’s actions in Congress could reverse the results of the election,” Mr. Cotton stated in a clip circulated by his office. “That was never going to happen, yet these senators, as insurrectionists literally stormed the Capitol, were sending out fund-raising emails. That shouldn’t have happened, and it’s got to stop now.”

Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist and former aide to Mr. McConnell, stated in an interview that he believed Mr. Hawley’s resolution to lift his objection to Pennsylvania’s electors hours after the mob stormed the Capitol was a “disqualifying” show of judgment.

“Once the Capitol had been literally occupied, how can you give quarter to the viewpoint that caused the occupation?” Mr. Jennings stated. “What would it have taken for Josh Hawley to withdraw his objection? How do you come back from that?”

Some Democrats stated Mr. Hawley by no means might. Senators Patty Murray of Washington, the No. 3 Democrat, and Chris Coons of Delaware, one among Mr. Biden’s closest allies within the chamber, demanded that Mr. Hawley resign. Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, argued that the Senate ought to censure him.

“Any senator who stands up and supports the power of force over the power of democracy has broken their oath of office,” Ms. Murray stated in an announcement.

Still, as Republicans struggled to get well from an episode that has uncovered deep rifts of their ranks, there was proof that Mr. Hawley’s actions on Wednesday had boosted his standing with influential parts of his occasion.

The Senate Conservatives Fund, a political motion committee based by former Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, defended Mr. Hawley and urged its members to donate to his marketing campaign.

“The junior senator from Missouri’s decision to object to the election results showed tremendous courage,” the fund-raising pitch, signed by Mary Vought, the fund’s government director, stated. “Conservatives should stand shoulder to shoulder with him in defending our cherished values.”

Christian Morgan, a St. Louis-based strategist and former high aide to Representative Ann Wagner, Republican of Missouri, additionally defended Mr. Hawley.

“Bernie Sanders did not cause the attempted mass assassination of Republican Members of Congress, James Hodgkinson did,” Mr. Morgan wrote on Twitter, referring to a liberal activist who opened hearth on Republican lawmakers throughout a softball follow in 2017. “Josh Hawley & Ted Cruz did not cause an angry mob to invade the Capitol and murder a Capitol Police.”

Leaders of the Missouri Republican Party didn’t reply to interview requests on Friday. But their most up-to-date Facebook publish — celebrating National Missouri Day and written earlier than the chaos on Wednesday — began drawing feedback suggesting that occasion leaders start looking for a candidate to mount a major problem to Roy Blunt, Missouri’s senior Republican senator, who voted to certify the election outcomes.

The former head of Missouri’s Republican Party, Jean Evans, stated that she resigned from the place earlier than the occasions on Wednesday in response to folks demanding that the occasion bus folks to protest in Washington and calling for violent habits.

“I was concerned and alarmed by what I was hearing from certain elements within the party calling for a coup,” Ms. Evans instructed a local television station.


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