Josh Hawley has been roundly condemned by Democrats in the wake of the Capitol riot because of his prominent role in backing former President Trump's election challenge. On Monday, however, the Missouri senator fought back in two notable ways. He scored the cover of the right-leaning New York Post with an op-ed denouncing the "muzzling of America," and he filed an ethics countercomplaint against Democratic colleagues in the Senate. Coverage:
- Ethics panel: Hawley filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee against seven Democratic senators who'd previously filed a complaint of their own against Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz, reports Politico. "The idea that one Senator who disagrees with another Senator can therefore have that Senator punished, sanctioned, censured, or removed is utterly antithetical to our democracy and the very idea of open, lawful debate," wrote Hawley in a letter to the seven. Cruz had joined Hawley in objecting to the Electoral College results.
- 'Frivolous': In a separate letter to the ethics panel, Hawley denounced the complaint against him and Cruz as "frivolous," per Fox News. "The complaint against me does not suggest that my objection to Pennsylvania's electoral votes was legally improper," he writes. "No Senator could make such a suggestion with a straight face. Federal law expressly authorizes Senators to object that a State's electoral votes were not 'regularly given.'" The seven Democrats are Ron Wyden, Sheldon Whitehouse, Tina Smith, Richard Blumenthal, Mazie Hirono, Tim Kaine, and Sherrod Brown.
- The op-ed: In his op-ed at the Post, Hawley accused "tech titans" of stifling the speech of those on the right, cited a publishing company's cancellation of his book, and warned that corporations swayed by the left were bent on punishing conservatives. In regard to his challenge of the election, he writes: "Maybe you agree with me. Maybe you don't. But whatever your view, corporate America's rush to cancel those it dislikes should trouble you."
- Mentors: The Kansas City Star reports that the 41-year-old Hawley's political mentors have largely disavowed him over his recent actions. "I am more than a little bamboozled by it, certainly distressed by it," says David Kennedy of Stanford, who served as Hawley’s academic adviser. However, the story digs into Hawley's early political years and finds that even as a teenager, Hawley was writing political columns defending groups he felt were treated unfairly by the media, including anti-government militias and the LAPD's Mark Fuhrman.
- Telling signature: The same Star story reports that a young Hawley signed a classmate's eighth-grade yearbook as "Josh Hawley, president 2024."
- Strategy: At the Week, Joel Mathis (not a fan of Hawley's) writes that the senator is still on track toward that 2024 goal. "For all the angry criticism he has taken, Hawley might be in better political shape today than he was at the beginning of the month," he writes. "Other up-and-comers in the GOP will take note: You can't go wrong with dishonest, cynical pandering to the party's base."
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