Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., defended both his objection to the Electoral College voting results and his refusal to “bow to a lawless mob” after demonstrators stormed the U.S. Capitol last week.
In an op-ed for the Southeast Missourian, Hawley said he did not regret objecting to electoral voting results after a joint session of Congress returned hours following the riot at the Capitol.
“Some wondered why I stuck with my objection following the violence at the Capitol,” wrote Hawley, the first senator to announce he would object to the electoral results.
“The reason is simple: I will not bow to a lawless mob, or allow criminals to drown out the legitimate concerns of my constituents.”
Lawmakers have accused Hawley and other Republican senators of helping to instigate rioters who violently attacked the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the riot.
“Let me say again, as I have said before: The lawless violence at the Capitol last week was criminal,” Hawley said. “There can be no quibbling about that. Those who engaged in it should be prosecuted and punished.”
Hawley also called out Democrat lawmakers who 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,” Hawley 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 cited 2005, when House Democrats objected to counting Ohio’s electoral votes for President George W. Bush. At the time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., termed the objection “fundamental to our democracy.”
“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.”
Multiple Democrats in the House and Senate have called on Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to resign, per Newsweek. Cruz also led the effort to object to the election certification.
“Any senator who stands up and supports the power of force over the power of democracy has broken their oath of office,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in a statement last week. “Sens. Hawley and Cruz should resign.”
Several hundred protesters gathered in downtown St. Louis on Saturday to call for Hawley’s removal. They chanted slogans such as, “No Hawley. No KKK. No fascist USA,” the Associated Press reported.
Hawley has given no indication he is considering leaving office.
“These are difficult days for our country,” he wrote. “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.”