Missouri Senator Josh Hawley had the world at his feet. His uncanny knack for self-promotion combined with his unbending conservatism had made him a favorite of the MAGA-hat-wearing right that hangs on every word that Donald Trump tweets.
But then came Wednesday and the picture that will haunt his ambition to move into the White House in four years’ time. His clenched left fist raised high, his face a mask of steely determination, as he salutes the crowd marching on the Capitol.
Hawley might claim he couldn’t have known that that crowd was about to turn into a rioting mob that would smash its way into the Capitol and occupy both the House of Representatives and the Senate for hours in scenes that horrified the world, leaving four people dead.
‘The responsibility of violent criminal acts is with violent criminals,’ Hawley told CNN’s Manu Raju on Thursday.
But history is bound to include Hawley as one of the main instigators of the protests that shocked the world.
Sen. Josh Hawley lost his book deal with publisher Simon & Schuster Thursday ‘after his role in what became a dangerous threat.’ On Wednesday, Hawley is pictured giving a clinched-first salute to the MAGA mob who would later overwhelm Capitol Hill
But history is bound to include Hawley as one of the main instigators of the protests that shocked the world. Pictured: Tweets condemning Hawley for his salute
Already his home state’s largest newspaper, the Kansas City Star has condemned him as having ‘blood on his hands’ for his actions.
‘No one other than President Donald Trump himself is more responsible for Wednesday’s coup attempt,’ the paper’s editorial board wrote.
‘Hawley was first to say that he would oppose the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. That action, motivated by ambition, set off much that followed.
‘He deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that has been shed.’
The Star is not the only Missouri newspaper to rail against Hawley.
‘He’s the walking definition of a phony,’ the St. Louis Dispatch said in an editorial. ‘This is a man who will say and do anything to advance his personal political agenda.’
Even former Missouri Republican Senator John Danforth, Hawley’s mentor, turned against him following Wednesday’s riot.
‘I thought he was special,’ the 84-year-old said. ‘I did my best to encourage people to support him both for attorney general and later the U.S. Senate.
‘It was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life.’
His book deal with Simon & Schuster was dropped on Thursday, with the publisher saying in a statement it ‘cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.’
Even former Missouri Republican Senator John Danforth (pictured), Hawley’s mentor, turned against him following Wednesday’s riot. ‘I thought he was special,’ the 84-year-old said. ‘I did my best to encourage people to support him both for attorney general and later the U.S. Senate. ‘It was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life’
The Missouri Republican responded by tweeting a statement ‘on the woke mob.’
‘This could not be more Orwellian,’ Hawley responded to Simon & Schuster. ‘We’ll see you in court,’ he offered, complaining that he was being canceled and vowing to sue.
Meanwhile, many Democrats say he should resign from the Senate immediately. Support from his own party wavered as he pressed on with his claims that the presidential election had been stolen even after the day of rioting.
Hawley, 41, has long been attacked for his ambition. ‘This is a guy whose ambition has overridden the heart of a public servant,’ said Claire McCaskill, the Democrat incumbent that Hawley beat to get into the Senate.
‘When he ran for attorney general, he said that he was not running for one office to turn around and use it for another and literally two years later he was running for the United States Senate. He hadn’t even been sworn into the United States Senate and he was running for president,’ McCaskill told Brian Williams on MSNBC.
‘There’s something wrong here. You’re supposed to want to take a time-out and serve.’
Conservative columnist George Will asked: ‘Has there ever been such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment?’ while Esquire said: ‘The most dangerous place to stand in Washington D.C. is any place between Senator Josh Hawley and a live microphone.’
Hawley was born — on the very last day of the 1970s — in Arkansas but his parents soon moved to Lexington, Missouri, an hour east of Kansas City.
He had his own newspaper column by the time he was 14, where he pontificated about the events of the day. ‘(He) had his patter down even before he got his driver’s license,’ the free St. Louis paper, the Riverfront Times noted.
He went to private Rockford High School in Kansas City — motto: Work Hard. Play Hard. Pray Hard. — and then he was off to Stanford and Yale Law School.
At Yale he was elected president of the Federalist Society. Just this week Irina Manta, whom he defeated, wrote in a Yahoo News column that he only won by canvassing all members after somehow getting hold of an email list. She said traditionally only active members voted.
The voting rules, Manta said, were ‘problematic and Sen. Hawley exploited that all the way to victory.’
Hawley became a Supreme Court clerk for John Roberts in 2007, and that is where he met his future wife Erin Morrow, who was also clerking for the Chief Justice. They now have three children. The youngest, Abigail, was born six days after the November election that Hawley has been trying to overturn ever since.
Sen. Josh Hawley told CNN Thursday, ‘The responsibility of violent criminal acts is with violent criminals,’ though he added that he didn’t President Donald Trump’s urging of people to come to Capitol Hill Wednesday was a good idea
He worked in private practice in Washington, D.C. where he was part of the team that successfully took the landmark Hobby Lobby case to the Supreme Court. The arts and crafts chain objected to Obamacare provisions that forced it to provide certain contraceptives to its employees
Hawley moved back to the Midwest in 2011 to become an associate professor at the University of Missouri Law School. But he was already looking ahead placing himself for a run for the state’s attorney general in 2016, an election he won easily.
He initiated a probe into allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, joined the fight to have Obamacare declared unconstitutional, and was instrumental in getting Republican governor Eric Greitens to resign amid claims that he had blackmailed a woman he had had an affair with.
As his profile rose, he announced a run for the Senate. He beat 10 other candidates to win the Republican primary — he received nearly 59% of the vote while his nearest rival was under 10% — and then handily defeated McCaskill in the 2018 General Election to become the Senate’s youngest member, a title he will lose once Georgia’s Jon Ossoff is sworn in.
As soon as he was elected senator, Hawley placed his home in Columbia, Missouri, on the market. He and his wife now live in a brand new five-bedroom house in Vienna, Virginia, that they bought for nearly $1.4 million two weeks after he was sworn in. He uses his sister’s address in Ozark, Missouri, for his voter registration.
In his time in the Upper Chamber, he has been noted for his devotion to Trump’s causes. He even joined Vermont’s Bernie Sanders to lead the unsuccessful push for a second $2,000 stimulus payment to all Americans, leading Time to call them ‘2020’s oddest Washington couple.’
Hawley became a Supreme Court clerk for John Roberts in 2007, and that is where he met his future wife Erin Morrow (pictured together in 2108), who was also clerking for the Chief Justice. They now have three children
In his Senate speech on Wednesday, Hawley did condemn the violence that had enveloped the Capitol. ‘Violence is not how you achieve change,’ he said. ‘Violence is not how you achieve something better. But CNN said he ‘looked like a ghost’ as he spoke
But he did vote against Trump’s plan to lift sanctions on three Russian companies led by oligarch Oleg Deripaska in January last year. ‘Oleg Deripaska is a bad guy who still appears to be working in conjunction with Vladimir Putin,’ he said. ‘Until we know for certain that Deripaska no longer has control over these entities, we need to maintain the pressure.’
He also angered China when he and fellow GOP senator Ted Cruz visited Hong Kong during democracy protests there. He tweeted that Beijing was trying to turn the former British colony into a police state.
Then this week he accused ‘antifa scumbags’ of threatening his wife and newborn daughter at their home. ‘They screamed threats, vandalized and tried to pound open our door,’ he tweeted.
But cops said there was a small, peaceful gathering and the protestors ‘just left’ when they were asked to. Police ‘didn’t think it was that big of a deal,’ Vienna Police Department spokesman Juan Vasquez said.
In his Senate speech on Wednesday, Hawley did condemn the violence that had enveloped the Capitol. ‘Violence is not how you achieve change,’ he said. ‘Violence is not how you achieve something better. But CNN said he ‘looked like a ghost’ as he spoke.
And Senator Mitt Romney clearly had Hawley in mind when he spoke. ‘Those who choose to continue to support this 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.
‘They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history,’ Romney said. ‘That will be their legacy.’