Editorial: MU, affiliates must publicly denounce Hawley, cease financial support

As Trump exits public office, Josh Hawley remains a politician who prioritizes political power over the safety of democracy.

A mob incited by President Donald Trump and other politicians stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, Jan. 6. Riots led by Trump supporters began during the Electoral College certification, following Missouri Senator Josh Hawley’s efforts to reject the results of the 2020 presidential election. This is the first time since the War of 1812 that the building has been breached.

The events of Wednesday were not protests. Hours before the riot, Hawley greeted pro-Trump supporters with a fist pump gesture, consequently animating the energy of the crowd and seemingly signaling support for the riot. These riots, encouraged by Hawley’s efforts to undermine the proven integrity of the election, were the direct result of a selfish attempt to appeal to white supremacist communities for political gain.

Despite practicing and even teaching constitutional law at MU, Hawley has shown he cares nothing of the sanctity of the American election, but rather what will ensure his name on a presidential ticket in coming years.

Hawley was first elected to public office as attorney general of Missouri in 2016. His campaign promised that he would not simply use the election to one public office as a ladder to get to another. He said Jefferson City was full of career politicians, but he would not be one of those. Two years after his election to the office of attorney general, he ran for U.S. Senate, failing to complete his term in the position, a contradiction of the platform he ran on in 2017.

After being a senator for less than two years, there is speculation that he is pulling the same ploy to likely attempt to reach the office of the presidency. President Trump’s consideration of Hawley for the Supreme Court seat, now occupied by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, boosted Hawley into the spotlight. Now, he is demolishing American democracy as a way to gain political power without regard for the consequences.

Hawley’s instigation and objection to certification was a “craven political move,” former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill said. “This is a guy who has more ambition than common sense … he has compromised … the national security of this country.”

Besides McCaskill, several of Hawley’s other colleagues have condemned his recent actions. Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, called for no objections from Republican senators, but Hawley disregarded party leadership, along with Tuberville, Scott, Marshall, Kennedy, Hyde-Smith, Cruz and Lummis, in pursuit of his own agenda of invalidating the election results.

After the chaos he provoked, Hawley took to the podium post-riot to reaffirm his objection to Arizona election results. Though he openly voted against Pennsylvania election results, the senator later yielded his speaking time without explanation when the Senate and House of Representatives separated to debate the Pennsylvania objection. Hawley’s silence over the matter is telling. In refusing to stand up for what he claims to believe, there is little proof this wasn’t a stunt to gain favor from Trump supporters.

Missouri Representative Cori Bush was among the first to call for the removal of every Republican legislator who was involved in the “coup” attempt by using inflammatory language to encourage confrontation among Trump supporters. She, along with many other lawmakers and organizations, is calling for support of a resolution that would investigate and expel all legislators who played a role in the attack.

While many who said they would object to the certification of electors switched their positions after the violence at the Capitol, five additional Missouri legislators were steadfast in their dedication to undermining the fair Nov. 3 election. Reps. Sam Graves, Vicki Hartzler, Billy Long, Blaine Luetkemeyer and Jason Smith objected to the results, meaning only three Missouri representatives voted to certify the results.

While these representatives did object to the result of a fair election, it is important to note the distinction between their objections and Hawley’s. It is not uncommon for representatives of the President-elect’s opposing party to object to election results; House Democrats did so in 2001, 2005 and 2017. However, it is uncommon for Senators to give platforms to baseless claims of election fraud. Though The Maneater does not support these representatives’ actions, they are not responsible for the Capitol incident in the same way Hawley is.

It’s unjust to allege Hawley is solely acting on behalf of his constituency. We are his constituents and we did not want this. If Hawley’s vote is truly motivated by those he represents, he is making an extreme generalization about the state of Missouri. Yes, Trump won Missouri in November. That does not mean voters wish for an overturned election or the downfall of American democracy as we know it.

If the Republican party had any chance of returning to its pre-Trump state, Hawley has swiftly disposed of it. A number of American politicians, Hawley included, opt to place political gain over the safety and security of American democracy and election security.

Hawley, once an associate law professor at MU, has been encouraged to resign, “for the protection of the rule of law” by the Mizzou Law Student Bar Association. “When he left the ranks of our faculty to pursue higher office, he severely damaged the reputation of our institution,” the organization’s statement said.

It should also be noted that Senator Hawley’s wife, Erin Hawley, teaches Constitutional Litigation as an associate law professor at MU. Both professors were on the university payroll until 2015. Erin Hawley is currently scheduled to teach Constitutional Litigation in the upcoming spring semester at MU.

As students at MU, The Maneater supports the association’s demand for Hawley’s resignation from his Senate seat and condemns any relation MU has with Hawley.

Research conducted by The Maneater found that individuals affiliated with MU rank among the top 100 contributing groups to Hawley’s campaign committee and leadership PAC combined. These individuals donated a combined $12,610 to Hawley campaigns from 2015 to 2020. UM System Curator Greg E. Hoberock donated $13,700 to Hawley alone.

While those employed, leading or otherwise affiliated with the university don’t represent its views, we encourage those MU-associated donors to cut all financial ties with Hawley. MU’s choice to dissociate with Hawley would be a direct indicator that our university values American democracy. MU Law School Dean Lyrissa Lidsky announced in an email that the MU law school has officially terminated its association with Hawley, according to the Columbia Missourian.

Politicians like Hawley, Trump and a number of others endorse white supremacy while campaigning and serving in office to reap the benefits of these groups and gain voters, yet are not prepared to handle the repercussions of their actions. Rioters at the Capitol sported racist, hateful symbols like the Nazi flag, hung nooses and the Confederate flag. The manifestation of the cult-like mentality that surrounds the Trump presidency does nothing more than provide a platform for white supremacy and racism.

In the wake of this insurrection, one can’t help but compare it to the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, where 93% of protests were peaceful, according to Time. Despite this, a disproportionate number protesters — and media members — were arrested, tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets. Alternatively, we see outwardly violent, predominantly white rioters walking out of the Capitol peacefully. Capitol police were also filmed moving barricades out of the way for rioters and taking selfies with them.

In response to the armed insurgency at the Capitol, Biden said, “America is so much better than what we've seen today.” He is incorrect.

The riots at the Capitol were not a surprise, but rather the product of white supremacy, which isn’t the product of a few politicians. The United States was founded upon the same white supremacy that allowed Trump supporters to meander into and out of the Capitol unscathed. The events at the Capitol are an exemplification of exactly what America is. Our nation has been continuously built on the foundation of oppression for hundreds of years. It should be no surprise that white supremacists were allowed to interfere in America’s democratic process.

The Organization for Black Struggles is a St. Louis-based organization that works to uplift Black people in the working class. In pursuit of racial justice, we at The Maneater encourage our readers to donate to aid this organization. Donations can be made at: Organization for Black Struggle (obs-stl.org)

Edited by Eli Hoff | ehoff@themaneater.com

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