Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley under fire after Electoral College challenge

Josh Hawley

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is facing condemnation from members of the Republican Party and former supporters after leading an effort to object to the Electoral College certification, which many believe contributed to the violent siege of the Capitol on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Hawley, who was elected to the Senate in 2018, was viewed as one of the fastest-rising stars in the GOP and a potential 2024 presidential candidate. But the 41-year-old senator's future prospects are now at risk after he defied GOP leadership to become the first senator to say he would object to the certification of President-elect Biden's Electoral College win.

Driving the news: Simon & Schuster on Thursday announced it would be cancelling the publication of Hawley's upcoming book, "The Tyranny of Big Tech," saying it "cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat."

  • Hawley responded by calling the move "Orwellian," accusing a "woke mob" at Simon & Schuster of engaging in "a direct assault on the First Amendment."

Former Missouri Sen. John Danforth, who mentored Hawley and called him a "once-in-a-generation" candidate, said Thursday: “I thought he was special. And I did my best to encourage people to support him both for attorney general and later the U.S. Senate and it was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life."

The Kansas City Star, a local Missouri paper, said in an editorial on Wednesday that Hawley has "blood on his hands" and called for his resignation on Friday.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also called for Hawley's resignation in an editorial Thursday, writing: "Americans have had enough of Trumpism and the two-faced, lying, populist politicians who embraced it. 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."

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) tore into Hawley on the Senate floor Wednesday, saying that “those who choose to continue to support [Trump's] dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy," per AP.

David Humphreys, a Missouri businessman who helped fund Hawley's first campaign, released a statement calling the senator a "political opportunist" and arguing that he "should be censured by his Senate colleagues for his actions which have undermined a peaceful transition of power and for provoking yesterday’s riots in our nation’s capital."

Shamed Dogan, a Republican state senator in Missouri, tweeted that he regretted voting for Hawley in 2018: "His refusal to accept the legitimacy of Joe Biden's election, even after today's violence, is an embarrassment."

The other side: Hawley said in a statement to the Kansas City Star that he would "never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections. That’s my job, and I will keep doing it."

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