Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a far-right evangelical christian, is serving his first term in the U.S. Senate after being elected in 2019. Raised in rural Missouri, he taught at the University of Missouri Law School for several years before getting into politics by winning the race for attorney general in Missouri. Shortly after assuming office in 2017, he began a new campaign for his current seat in the Senate.
Before his career in politics, Hawley studied history at Stanford University, where he joined The Stanford Review, a right-wing publication founded by reactionary venture capitalist billionaire Peter Thiel. At Yale he edited the Yale Law Journal and was active in the conservative Federalist Society. After finishing law school in 2007, Hawley clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, and went on to work at the law firm Hogan & Hartson and then for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. At Becket, which has been called “one of the most successful litigators seeking to curtail LGBTQ rights and abortion access,” Hawley helped litigate Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores at the Supreme Court—arguing that business owners have the right to discriminate against LGBT customers on the basis of religion.
After the 2020 presidential election, Hawley was among the most outspoken GOP leaders casting doubt on the legitimacy of the outcome. He was the first senator to announce that he would object to certifying the Electoral College results and spread the lie that antifa was behind the attack on the Capitol, among his many other defiant moves to push misinformation and stoke division.
January 6, 2021
- On Dec. 30, 2020, Hawley became the first senator to announce that he would object certifying Biden’s win of the presidential election on Jan. 6. He got more than 125,000 “likes” for his tweet about the decision.
- Just before rioters stormed the Capitol, Hawley passed by the mob of Trump supporters protesting the results of the election and raised his fist in solidarity with them, telegraphing his full support for the Big Lie and the insurrection.
- In a May 2021 interview with The Washington Post Live, Hawley justified his response to the crowd by saying: “I waved to them, gave them the thumbs-up, pumped my fist… and thanked them for being there… they had every right to do that.”
- At the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Hawley claimed that the “woke mob” had come after him for his response to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
- Just hours after the deadly violence at the Capitol, Hawley objected to certifying the election results along with 146 other Republicans in Congress.
- On the 2022 anniversary of the Capitol riot, Hawley issued a press release claiming that “Antifa” was responsible for the attack.
- At the 2022 CPAC, Hawley defended his vote against accepting the results of the 2020 election.
The Big Lie
- On Nov. 10, 2020, Hawley introduced a bill to prevent the use of so-called “ballot harvesting,” also commonly called “ballot collection”—meaning the use of a third party to transport ballots to polling places. The bill would limit or ban mail-in voting, and he justified its passage by claiming that “the debacle of the 2020 election has made clear that serious reforms are needed to protect the integrity of our elections.”
- On Dec. 30, 2020, when Hawley announced that he would object to the certification of the election, he wrote that he would do so “to highlight the failure of some states, including notably Pennsylvania, to follow their own election laws as well as the unprecedented interference of Big Tech monopolies in the election.” He added that he would “call for Congress to launch a full investigation of potential fraud and election irregularities and enact election integrity measures.”
- To justify his vote against certifying the election results, Hawley made the false claim that “Pennsylvania elected officials passed a whole new law that allows universal mail-in balloting, and did it irregardless of what the Pennsylvania Constitution said.” In fact, the Pennsylvania Constitution stipulates that elections be conducted “by ballot or by such other method as may be prescribed by law.”
- Hawley continues to deny the outcome of the 2020 election, tweeting on Jan. 19, 2022: “Joe Biden dangerously claiming results of 2022 elections will be illegitimate unless Congress passes his election power grab.”
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