Missouri Newspaper Says Josh Hawley's Mind 'Permanently Closed,' Condemns Vote to Acquit Trump

The editorial board of The Kansas City Star published a blistering opinion article on Sunday morning, condemning Senator Josh Hawley and the three other GOP senators representing Missouri and Kansas after they all voted to acquit former President Donald Trump at the conclusion of his Senate impeachment trial.

While just seven Republican senators voted alongside all 50 members of the Senate's Democratic Caucus to convict Trump, the vast majority (43 senators) of Republicans voted to acquit the former president for inciting the violent insurrection against the U.S. Capitol on January 6. As the constitutional threshold for a conviction requires two-thirds of senators to vote "guilty," Trump was acquitted despite the most bipartisan presidential conviction vote in U.S. history.

The editorial board of The Kansas City Star—which is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri on the border of the state of Kansas—published the editorial criticizing the region's Republican senators under the headline: "Blunt, Hawley, Marshall and Moran side with Trump, making future sedition more likely." Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley are Missouri Republicans, while Senators Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran represent Kansas.

"Their votes were fundamentally wrong. Yet they were not a surprise: Anyone who expected Hawley or Marshall to approach the impeachment with an open mind was asking for disappointment," the editorial board of the prominent newspaper wrote.

Josh Hawley
The Kansas City Star's editorial board published an opinion article on Sunday arguing that Senator Josh Hawley's mind is "permanently closed. In this photo, the Missouri Republican arrives at the U.S. Capitol on February 13 in Washington, D.C. Stefani Reynolds - Pool/Getty

"Hawley's mind is permanently closed, open only in the service of his ambition. He will say or do anything to further his prospects, whether it's the White House or a bottle of wine from the top shelf. The man who raised his fist in support of the mob that raided the Capitol on Jan. 6 was never going to vote against his coconspirator in the Capitol riot," it added.

The Missouri newspaper has repeatedly published editorials and articles critical of Hawley in the wake of the attack on the Capitol. The Star, along with many lawmakers and voters, view Hawley as complicit in the violence that took place on January 6 due to his support for Trump's baseless claim that the election was stolen by President Joe Biden. Hawley led the effort to object on January 6 to the certification of Biden's victory, which critics contend gave credence to Trump's lies that led hundreds of the president's supporters to attack the legislative branch of the federal government.

On the evening of January 6, the newspaper published an editorial titled: "Assault on democracy: Sen. Josh Hawley has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt." The editorial board argued in the article that Hawley's actions "had such impact that he deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that's been shed."

Newsweek reached out to press representatives for Hawley, Blunt, Moran and Marshall for comment, but did not immediately receive a response from the two Missouri senators' staff. Representatives for Moran and Marshall referred Newsweek to the senators' statements released following the impeachment vote on Saturday.

In Marshall's statement he attempted to blame Democrats for the attack by Trump's supporters against the Capitol. The GOP senator also described the trial as unconstitutional.

"While I believe this entire trial was unconstitutional from the start, I hope that the failure to convict will put an end to the Democrat's obsession and allow temperatures to finally settle and for us to work in a bipartisan fashion moving forward," Marshall said.

Moran was more critical of Trump in his Saturday statement. The Republican lawmaker described the former president's conduct as "wrong." However, Moran said that he'd voted to acquit because he did not believe the trial was constitutional.

"Because former President Trump is no longer in office, I voted to acquit. Establishing the precedent that the Senate has jurisdiction to convict a former president would cause extreme damage to our country and the future of the presidency," the senator said.

Many GOP senators—including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky—justified their acquittal votes by saying they believed the entire trial was unconstitutional. However, most legal scholars—including prominent conservatives and liberals—agree that the process is a constitutional way to hold a current or former president to account for their actions.

Republican Senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska voted to convict Trump alongside the Democratic Caucus.