Video of Josh Hawley Running Away From Capitol Mob Sparks Mockery and Memes

A video of Donald Trump admitting he did not "want to say the election was over" was the bombshell footage shown at the latest January 6 committee hearing, but another clip also captured the public's attention on Thursday: one showing Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri fleeing the Capitol only hours after he cheered on the pro-Trump mob.

On January 6, 2021, Hawley was pictured backing the crowd outside the Capitol, raising his fist to them in solidarity and support.

The image, which went viral, became a form of political currency for the Republican senator among Trump supporters and a testimony of his role in the riots, which he repeatedly denied inciting.

Josh Hawley Running January 6th
Senator Josh Hawley is shown on a screen (inset) during a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 21, 2022. In this combination image, Hawley is seen running in the Capitol on January 6th and Hawley greeting demonstrators during a protest outside of the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. Getty

Hawley, who objected to the certification of the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, said he was only waving and gesturing and greeting the crowd outside the Capitol as he does with people all the time.

And yet, the viral image of him raising his fist at the mob is officially on mugs, T-shirts and coffee cups available for sale on Hawley's own website.

During the January 6 committee's hearing on Thursday, the viral image was presented on a large screen for a few seconds, only to be followed by security camera footage from inside the Capitol showing Hawley trotting through the building's corridors and jogging downstairs as the mob entered the building.

The video caused many of those in the committee room —reporters, congressional aides, security staff, and visitors— to burst into laughter.

On social media, people laughed at Hawley too, ridiculing him for running away from the same crowd he had saluted.

But people also got a little more creative, turning mockery into memes. Chariots of Fire, the Benny Hill theme, the theme music from Rocky, Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill and Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run are just a few of the many "alternative soundtracks" that have been given to the clip on Twitter.

One Twitter user mocked the senator, alluding to Forrest Gump with "Run, Josh Hawley, Run!"

"Josh Hawley has become the nation's favorite running joke," said one Twitter user who grabbed the chance for a perfect pun.

"Josh Hawley riling up the rioters and then running away like all those Republicans who denounced the COVID vaccine publicly but immediately got vaccinated the second they could," one user commented on Twitter.

"One of the important things that will come from tonight's hearing is that Josh Hawley will see a large number of running emojis in his replies for the foreseeable future," another commented.

There's no shortage of people running in films and anime, and Twitter users criticizing the Republican senator have been resurfacing quite a few as a comparison to his fleeing the Capitol.

A Twitter user even suggested alternative merchandise to the "Show-Me Strong" Hawley's mug mentioned earlier in this article showing his raised fist in support to the Capitol mob —featuring a running Hawley instead.

Hawley has not so far publicly addressed the mockery on social media, but, on Friday, he posted on Twitter a link to the mug sold as a fundraiser on his website (the one with the image of himself raising the fist to the Capitol mob) with a simple kissing emoji accompanying the image.

Newsweek has reached out to Hawley's office for comment.

The laughter that the clip sparked in the committee room was followed by a moment of gravity, as Democratic congresswoman Elaine Luria said Hawley had a role in inciting the mob outside the Capitol.

"We spoke with a Capitol police officer who was out there at the time," Luria said. "She told us that just Senator Hawley's gesture riled up the crowd. And it bothered her greatly because he was doing it in a safe space, protected by the officers and the barriers," she said.

"Think about what we've seen. Undeniable violence at the Capitol. The vice president being evacuated to safety by the Secret Service. Senators running through the hallways of the Senate to get away from the mob," she added.

Josh Hawley Jan 6 Committee
Footage of Senator Josh Hawley running away from the Capitol only hours after inciting the mob outside the building has sparked mockery on social media. In this photo, Hawley is shown pumping his fist toward the rioters on January 6, 2021 during a prime-time hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol the Cannon House Office Building on July 21, 2022. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Update 07/22/22 10 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to include a reaction from Hawley on Twitter.