Jul 24, 2022
Missouri's second-largest newspaper by circulation derided home-state Sen. Josh Hawley in a scathing editorial on Saturday, calling him a "laughingstock" and a "coward" after the House panel investigating the January 6 Capitol attack showed previously unseen security footage of the GOP lawmaker fleeing the violent right-wing insurrectionists that he helped embolden.
"Hawley has become one of the defining figures of that day," notes The Kansas City Star's editorial board. "A famous photo captured by Francis Chung shows him raising a fist in solidarity with the crowds that would soon break through doors, loot offices, and assault law enforcement."
During its latest public hearing on Thursday, the House January 6 committee played a video clip showing Hawley running away after armed Trump supporters breached the Capitol.
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), who presided over Thursday's hearing, quoted a Capitol police officer as saying Hawley's supportive gesture to the mob just ahead of the attack "riled up the crowd."
"It bothered her greatly," Luria added, "because he was doing it in a safe space protected by the officers and the barriers."
The Kansas City Star's editorial goes on to recount that "when the Senate reconvened after the halls of the Capitol had been cleared and secured, Hawley took to the floor as the very first voice calling to throw out millions of Americans' votes cast fairly and legally for the rightful winner in a presidential election."
"We said that day Hawley has blood on his hands for his role in perpetuating the lies that drove thousands of people to violence," the editorial reads. "That remains true. Beyond the physical toll, though, is the damage Jan. 6 continues to inflict on our democracy and our shared sense of truth. The House committee is systematically demonstrating how too many Republicans in Donald Trump's orbit allowed him to incite the riot, which he had promised in advance 'will be wild,' and were then unable to get him to call his fans off until unimaginable damage had already been done."
"Hawley has never apologized for attempting to reinstall a man who everyone around him knew had lost the election, as witness testimony continues to confirm," the editorial continues. "Saluting the Trump posse was politically expeditious for him before the siege began. Yet once he realized his own safety was in real danger from the angry revolutionists swarming the building, he hotfooted it away from 'his' people to the protection of the security forces charged with protecting him. Where's that fist in the air now?"
Far from showing contrition for helping provoke a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol and then fleeing the scene, Hawley has doubled down on his election lies and attempted to fundraise off the backlash, hawking a mug emblazoned with the raised-fist photo that he does not have permission to use.
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