Josh Hawley Blasts 'Lie' He Incited Riot As Missouri Newspaper Calls Him 'FrankenHawley'

Sen. Josh Hawley has told a Missouri news channel that lawmakers accusing him of inciting the Capitol riots are part of a "woke mob" as he faces growing calls from his home state to resign.

Hawley was among the GOP lawmakers who rejected the Electoral College results that delivered the White House to President Joe Biden. Supporters of Donald Trump spurred by these false claims of election fraud stormed the Capitol on January 6, leading to five deaths.

After donors and local figures distanced themselves from the senator, Hawley gave a bullish response when asked by KTVO whether he had helped incite the mob and was putting his political career ahead of his constituents.

"I would say that's absolutely false and a lie," he told the news channel. He said such claims came "from the woke left, the woke mob that are leading a vote on the floor of the Senate about election integrity."

Sen. Josh Hawley
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, pictured on February 3 in Washington, D.C. The St Louis Post-Dispatch has dubbed him "FrankenHawley." Bill O'Leary/Getty Images

Those who compared the violence to sedition were "not only crazy—it's a lie. It is simply false and I'm not going to give into it for a second," Hawley added, before reiterating his call for those involved in the violence to be "punished to the fullest extent of the law."

However, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has increased local pressure on Hawley with a scathing editorial.

The piece on Thursday by the paper's editorial board accused him of exploiting divisions within the country "for his own advancement," adding that "gross, blatant hypocrisy has been the key to the junior Missouri senator's success."

"He seems capable of saying anything at any time to please the Trumpian masses with utter disregard to the consequences or how far his comments veer from traditional Republican values."

The article was headlined: "Missourians should heed Danforth's warning: FrankenHawley is on the loose." This referred to Hawley's mentor, former Missouri Senator John Danforth, who has expressed regret for helping him with his political ambitions.

The piece continued: "How does it make Danforth feel, knowing that he helped create this monster?"

It also quoted an interview Danforth gave earlier this week in which he said: "I feel I guess a little like Dr. Frankenstein must've felt, a part of creating something that was really wrong."

Newsweek has contacted Hawley's office for comment.

Faith leaders in Missouri have called on the senator to quit and donors such as billionaire Jeffrey Yass have also pulled the plug.

However, Hawley is enjoying an increased national profile, with polling showing that his favorability among GOP voters across the country has more than doubled since August even as his local support dwindles.

Correction February 6, 2021, 7:20 PM ET: An earlier version of this story misidentified station KTVO as 'KVOT.' We apologize for the error.