If the impossible task of defending Donald Trump on his impeachment trial in the Senate were to fall on me, I’d simply point out Josh Hawley’s presence on the jury. Then I would rest my case.
If Trump’s greatest accomplice in inciting the January 6 uprising is allowed to continue serving in the Chamber, the cynical argument would be: How can senators seriously argue that the 45th President should be held accountable?
Needless to say, I am not going to do this or any other defense for Donald Trump. I cannot seriously recommend letting the ashamed former president off the hook. You have it on tape– and on Twitter – inciting the violent mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol to scrap the 2020 election results. Trump is guilty of the high crime he has been charged with. He must be condemned by the Senate and excluded from renewed public office.
Still, the Hawley riddle remains. He is just as guilty as Trump and just as responsible for what happened on January 6th.
“But it wouldn’t have happened to him,” said former Missouri Senator John Danforth, a Republican who helped kick-start his fellow Missourian’s career. says of Hawley’s role in the Capitol Invasion. “But for him, approving the votes of the electoral college would have been just a formality. He managed, in a certain way, to express the view that the election was stolen. He was responsible. ”
Hawley’s colleagues have a duty to deal with the Missourian’s incitement to insurrection as the Senate prepares for Trump’s impeachment trial, due to begin the week of February 8th. This is about much more than just partiality. Senators who are intellectually honest must realize that Trump wasn’t the only prominent Republican who started the deadly uprising that disrupted the certification of the electoral college’s votes. He had accomplices. And the worst of these accomplices is among them.
While Trump was encouraging the rioters who attacked the Capitol, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reminds usHawley initiated and directed the interruption effort [the process]and the protesters followed his lead. “The Missouri paper states that the senator” did everything possible to promote the insurrection. Hawley’s website on the day the chaos erupted was headlined “JOIN ME AND PRESIDENT TRUMP” in bold letters. Stand up now for the integrity of the American elections! “
Hawley was certainly not the only bad player in the Senate Republican caucus. Texan Senator Ted Cruz joined the Missourian in challenging the number of votes from the battlefield states that voted for the 2020 election. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, as Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, used his position To “legitimize” Trump’s lies about the election – and in some cases go even further than Trump to spread conspiracy theories.
But Hawley stands out his announcement of December 30th that he would assist challenges in the counting of the votes that secured the presidency of Democrat Joe Biden. Trump’s allies in the house needed a senator to face the challenge. In late December, it looked like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Could thwart the insurrection. McConnell actively discouraged the senators’ objections. But Hawley, determined to position himself as the 2024 Republican presidential candidate with an appeal to Trump supporters, broke the ranks. As soon as Hawley showed up, it was clear that the challenges would move forward. This was the point where Trump stepped up his rhetoric and things got out of hand.
Hawley enjoyed his role as the leader of Trump’s riot. The Missourian even waved in solidarity with the crowd as he walked to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
If Trump’s acts of incitement were – and they were – then the Hawleys were certainly just as dangerous and just as wrong.
Because of this, the two largest Missouri newspapers have argued that Hawley should no longer serve in the United States Senate.
“Trumpism must die before it turns into Hitlerism” edited the After shipping. “Defenders like Hawley deserve to be thrown into political purgatory for promoting it.”
The Kansas City Star argued that if Hawley had a conscience he would resign. But Hawley is a man without a conscience, as his unrepentant demeanor has confirmed since January 6th. This reality led the star to edit: “Hawley, who raised a fist of encouragement to people like this proud bully who put his feet on a desk in Nancy Pelosi’s office, cannot continue to be our man in Washington and must be expelled. ”
The newspaper’s message to Hawley’s colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, both Liberals and Conservatives, was blunt: “Those of you in the Senate who understand what he has done must be in full possession of the facts and the consequences of their perversion do more than blame his treasonous behavior. ”
Some senators have recognized the challenge that Hawley’s continued presence in the Chamber brings. Fight that Hawley and Cruz “betrayed their oath of office and unleashed a violent uprising against our democracy,” Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called for her resignation. “If you don’t resign, the Senate must expel you.” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island said after the January 6 attack that the Senate’s Ethics Committee “must think about expulsion or reprimand and punishment”.
Whitehouse, Brown, and four other Senators are now seeking a formal investigation into the actions of Hawley, Cruz, and perhaps others that “gave legitimacy to the mob cause and made future violence more likely.”
“The measures we are aware of require an investigation and a determination as to whether disciplinary measures are justified,” said the senators wrote in a complaint submitted to the Senate Ethics Committee. “Until then, there will be a cloud of uncertainty hanging over you and this body.” The letter asks the Ethics Committee to “make recommendations for strict disciplinary action, including expulsion or reprimand if justified on the basis of the facts exposed”.
The facts warrant expulsion, and the trial should begin with the guiltiest man. If Trump sparked a riot – and he certainly did – Josh Hawley did too.