‘Hard to watch insurrectionist question witnesses’: Twitter erupts over Hawley appearance at Capitol probe

Gustaf Kilander
·4-min read
Josh Hawley speaks at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill on February 23, 2021. (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Josh Hawley speaks at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill on February 23, 2021. (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley suffered fresh backlash online as he appeared at a hearing concerning the Capitol riot, which he is considered by some to have helped incite.

Mr Hawley took part in a joint hearing between the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules Committee where Senators interrogated former Capitol police chief Steven Sund, former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department Robert Contee.

Referring to Mr Hawley, one Twitter user wrote that it was "hard to watch a traitorous insurrectionist attempt to question witnesses about his acts of sedition".

— The True American (@TheTrueAmerica5) February 23, 2021It’s really hard to watch a traitorous insurrectionist attempt to question witnesses about his acts of sedition.

Hawley’s hypocrisy is downright Republican.

Mr Hawley became the first Senator to take up the mantle of then-President Donald Trump when Mr Hawley announced in late December that he would be challenging the results of the election during the congressional certification of the electoral college results.

Watch: Capitol security bombshell

One particular line of questioning from Mr Hawley that bothered many during the hearing was when he used words from retired General Russell Honoré to say that claims that those in charge of security at the Capitol building may have been complicit are “disrespectful” and “really quite shocking".

— The Recount (@therecount) February 23, 2021Sen. Josh Hawley calls claims that Capitol Police leadership appeared to be “complicit” in January 6 insurrection “disrespectful” and “really quite shocking.” pic.twitter.com/aEyRxV6RKb

Mr Honoré said days after the riot on 6 January that former Capitol police chief Sund "did not have sufficient police on hand to protect the Capitol, which has led me to believe that there was some complicity on behalf of the Capitol police and that will come out in the investigation".

Mr Honoré has since been asked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to investigate security failures at the Capitol.

— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) February 23, 2021I can think of one other person who has zero reason or credibility to be leading any kind of inquiry into Jan 6 https://t.co/c7uHhgM5V0

One account holder called for Mr Hawley to be "charged with sedition and locked up".

— Marley (@RobertM15294022) February 23, 2021How does Josh Hawley get to participate in committee hearings investigating 1/6 insurrection. He clearly helped incite the riot & gave aid & comfort to enemies of our democracy. He should be stripped of all committee memberships. He should be charged with sedition and locked up. pic.twitter.com/zVBlslIf0h

Clint Watts, a senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University and a Foreign Policy Research Institute fellow, wrote that Mr Hawley "asking any questions at all is insulting".

— Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) February 23, 2021That Hawley is asking any questions at all is insulting #CapitolRiots

HuffPost reporter Matt Fuller wrote that it was "pretty rich to watch Josh Hawley ask anything about" the 6 January insurrection.

— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) February 23, 2021It's pretty rich to watch Josh Hawley ask anything about the Jan. 6th attacks.

Feel like he should be answering questions.

— 🌊Bernice García Baca (@bernice14) February 23, 2021I can’t even begin to say at what level is my anger at Josh Hawley’s disgusting hypocrisy in voicing gratitude and concern for the Capitol police.
Shameless white supremacist hypocrite.

Political scientist Norman Ornstein called Mr Hawley a "monster," and added that him "participating in a hearing on the police response to the insurrection he helped incite is a disgrace".

— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) February 23, 2021Josh Hawley is a monster. That he is participating in a hearing on the police response to the insurrection he helped incite is a disgrace.

— emptywheel (@emptywheel) February 23, 2021Josh Hawley is offended that anyone would accuse anyone of being complicit with the insurrection with which he was complicit.

The judgement of Mr Hawley was harsh after he objected to the certification of the electoral college results, holding firm even after the Capitol had been ransacked by a Trump-supporting mob. Former Missouri Senator John Danforth said “supporting Josh and trying so hard to get him elected to the Senate was the worst mistake I ever made in my life”.

Rick Tyler, communications director for Ted Cruz’s 2016 campaign, slammed both Mr Hawley and his former boss after the riot, telling NBC News: “It is not good enough to say you are representing the voters who believe the election was rigged when that assertion was based on lies and conspiracies that were thoroughly disproven by election officials, recounts, court cases and absence of credible evidence.”

He added: “Senator Hawley’s job was to represent the truth. Instead, he chose to go along with the president and others, namely Senator Cruz, to incite an insurrection.”

Watch: Former NYPD officer charged in Capitol riot

Read MoreJosh Hawley: GOP senator eviscerated by home state’s largest newspaperJosh Hawley calls impeachment a ‘kangaroo trial’ after being accused of ignoring itTrump loyalist Josh Hawley ignores impeachment trial evidence by sitting in gallery to review paperworkTrump ally Josh Hawley expensed family’s $200 fast food billJosh Hawley is only senator to vote no on all Biden cabinet confirmations