Josh Hawley Won't 'Bow to a Lawless Mob,' Criticizes Praise Dems Received for Other Certification Objections

Republican Senator Josh Hawley defended his decision to contest the results of the presidential election in an op-ed published Wednesday, saying that he refused to "bow to a lawless mob" after pro–Donald Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol last week.

"Some wondered why I stuck with my objection following the violence at the Capitol. The reason is simple: I will not bow to a lawless mob, or allow criminals to drown out the legitimate concerns of my constituents," Hawley wrote in the piece for the Southeast Missourian.

Hawley also criticized Democrats who have called him an "insurrectionist" and called out those who have objected to Electoral College certifications in the past.

"Dozens of Democratic members of Congress have lodged objections in precisely the same forum over the last three decades," he wrote. "The difference between those past instances and this year, however, is striking. In the past, when Democrats objected, they were praised for standing up for democracy."

Hawley specifically pointed to 2005, when House Democrats objected to counting Ohio's electoral votes for President George W. Bush. He criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for calling the objection "fundamental to our democracy" at the time.

"This time around, anyone who objected has been called an 'insurrectionist,'" he wrote. "Sadly, much of the media and many members of the Washington establishment want to deceive Americans into thinking those who raised concerns incited violence, simply by voicing the concern. That's false. And the allegation itself is corrosive and dangerous."

Hawley, who is from Missouri, was the first senator to announce he was going to object to the Electoral College vote count by a joint session of Congress.

Lawmakers have since accused Hawley and other GOP senators of acting as provocateurs for the deadly attack on the Capitol, when hundreds of pro-Trump rioters overwhelmed police and stormed the building. At least five people, including a Capitol Hill police officer, were killed.

Josh Hawley
U.S. Senator Josh Hawley listens while Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 13, 2020. In the aftermath of the assault last week on the U.S. Capitol, Hawley has defended his decision to contest the results of the presidential election. Anna Moneymaker/Getty

"Let me say again, as I have said before: The lawless violence at the Capitol last week was criminal. There can be no quibbling about that. Those who engaged in it should be prosecuted and punished," Hawley wrote.

But a number of elected officials have since condemned his actions and called for his removal from office.

Republican Senator Pat Toomey said that lawmakers who objected to the Electoral College vote "perpetuated the big lie, that Donald Trump won in a landslide and it's all been stolen from him. That's not true, and we know that's not true."

Similarly, Republican Senator Tom Cotton accused GOP lawmakers of "giving false hope to their supporters" and "misleading them" into thinking the election outcome could change.

"That was never going to happen, yet these senators, as insurrectionists literally stormed the Capitol, were sending out fundraising emails," he said a day after the attack.

Multiple Democrats in the House and Senate have since called on Hawley and Senator Ted Cruz, who also led the effort to object to the election certification, to resign.

"Any Senator who stands up and supports the power of force over the power of democracy has broken their oath of office. Senators Hawley and Cruz should resign," Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, said in a statement last week.

On Saturday, several hundred protesters gathered in downtown St. Louis to call for Hawley's removal, chanting slogans like "No Hawley. No KKK. No fascist USA," the Associated Press reported.

But Hawley has given no indication that he will leave office.

"These are difficult days for our country. All I can promise you is that I will do my best, day in and day out, to represent your voice, no matter who criticizes me. And I will do my utmost to preserve, protect and defend this republic that we call home," he wrote in the op-ed.

Newsweek reached out to Hawley for additional comment but did not hear back in time for publication.