Missouri Faith Leaders Tell Josh Hawley to Resign, Say He'll 'Sell His Soul' for Career

Faith leaders in Missouri have called on Sen. Josh Hawley to resign over his role in inciting the Capitol rioting earlier this month, branding him an "opportunist" who is putting his own self-interest before the voters he was elected to represent.

Hawley has been widely criticized for objecting to the certification of the November presidential election results, which saw President Joe Biden defeat former President Donald Trump. Hawley—along with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz—objected to the certification as tens of thousands of pro-Trump protesters descended on the Capitol.

Hawley was pictured giving a raised fist salute to the demonstrators as he entered the building. Some of those protesters later stormed the building, forcing lawmakers to flee. Five people, including one police officer, died during the incident.

At a press conference on Thursday, faith leaders in Hawley's home state of Missouri said the senator should resign, St. Louis' KMOV channel reported. "We are calling for his resignation," Reverend Dr. Cassandra Gould told reporters.

"If you are watching this from somewhere else other than Missouri, we ask you to contact your senator and ask them to have him expelled from the Senate immediately. Missouri can't afford this. Black people can't afford this. My grandchildren can't afford this."

Rabbi Susan Talve, who leads the Central Reform Congregation synagogue in St. Louis, added her voice to the dissent. "As an opportunist, Josh Hawley has shown us he will do anything," Talve said. "He will sell his soul for his own self-serving interest."

Newsweek has contacted Hawley's office to request comment on the appeal.

Hawley is facing condemnation from some of his constituents as well as his colleagues on the Hill. Last week, a group of Democratic senators filed an ethics complaint against Hawley and Cruz claiming their actions "lent legitimacy" to the rioters who stormed the building, reportedly with the intention of taking lawmakers hostage or even killing them.

Hawley has claimed that Biden and his Democratic allies are "trying to silence dissent," and dismissed the call for a probe into his actions as "a flagrant abuse of the Senate ethics process and a flagrant attempt to exact partisan revenge."

Hawley—tipped for a 2024 presidential run—has seemingly calculated that Trump's brand of combative, nationalistic populism will led to electoral success.

But a Morning Consult poll published this week showed that Hawley suffered a 12-point net approval drop among registered Missouri voters between January 5 and January 18. This includes a 14-point drop in net approval among Republican voters.

Hawley also lost a book deal with major publisher Simon & Schuster, which withdrew its backing explaining it "cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom."

Sen Josh Hawley at Biden inauguration Capitol
Sen. Josh Hawley is seen prior to President Joe Biden's inauguration at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2021. GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images/Getty