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Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told "Axios on HBO" he'll make masculinity a signature political issue, because he claims "the left" is telling men: "You're part of the problem. ... Your masculinity is inherently problematic."

Why it matters: As an ambitious Republican frequently mentioned as a possible future candidate for president or vice president, Hawley, 41, is using American masculinity to appeal to suburban parents, and to working men won over by Donald Trump.

  • "As conservatives, we've got to call men back to responsibility," Hawley said. "We've got to say that spending your time not working ... spending your time on video games, spending your time watching porn online ... is not good for you, your family or this country."

Hawley raised the issue on Oct. 31 as a keynoter at the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando, Florida:

  • "Can we be surprised," he asked, "that after years of being told ... that their manhood is the problem, more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness, and pornography, and video games?"
  • "We need the kind of men who make republics possible," he added.

Asked during the "Axios on HBO" interview to paint a picture of his ideal man, Hawley said:

  • "Well, a man is a father. A man is a husband. A man is somebody who takes responsibility."

Challenged on whether his assertions are based on data or mere hunches, the senator said millions of men had been idled in part "because jobs have dried up in many cities across America and rural areas, too."

  • "I think you put together lack of jobs, you put together fatherlessness, you put together the social messages that we teach our kids in school, I think we've got to confront that and its effects," he added.

Asked about the indelible image of him raising a fist in solidarity with protesters outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 before the riot began, Hawley said he doesn't regret the gesture.

  • "I don't know who came into the Capitol or not," he said. "If they did come into the Capitol and they violated the laws, they're criminals, and they should be prosecuted — and they'll get no support from me."
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Go deeper

Jan 13, 2022 - Health

Democratic Reps call on FDA to revise blood donation policy for gay men

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

LGBTQ advocates and Congress members are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to revise its blood donor policy on sexually active gay and bisexual men as the country faces a blood shortage.

Why it matters: The FDA requires gay and bisexual men abstain from same-sex sexual activity for 90 days in order to donate blood.

FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly COVID antibody treatments

A coldbox containing monoclonal antibody treatments at a Regeneron clinic in Pembroke Pines, Florida, in August. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The FDA said Monday it's limiting the use of two monoclonal antibody therapies as COVID-19 treatments because data indicates they're "highly unlikely" to be effective against the dominant Omicron variant.

Driving the news: The FDA revised the authorizations for Regeneron and Eli Lilly "to limit their use to only when the patient is likely to have been infected with or exposed to a variant that is susceptible to these treatments," per a statement from the agency.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.