Josh Hawley speaks during a Senate hearing.

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley Is & Always Has Been the Absolute Worst

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Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has announced that he plans to object to Joe Biden’s certification when Congress meets next week to officially count Electoral College votes. He says this despite there being absolutely zero proof of voter fraud in the election, let alone fraud on the mass scale that Donald Trump keeps alleging. The courts have dismissed all of Trump’s lawsuits and every one of his conspiracy theories has been fully debunked. But Trump is gonna Trump and Josh Hawley is gonna Hawley. Which means they’re both going to be the absolute worst.

For those outside of Missouri, you might see Hawley’s name pop up when he does something awful–like supporting Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories–or something surprising–like when he teamed up with Bernie Sanders to push for larger stimulus checks. That, in a nutshell, is Josh Hawley all of the time.

Hawley has cultivated this fake rightwing “man of the people” populist persona that is pure BS. Take, for example, how he centered healthcare in his 2018 Senate campaign. There was an ad that ran constantly in Missouri in which Hawley spoke about recently finding out that his oldest son had a rare heart condition. “Preexisting condition. We know what that’s like,” Hawley says in the ad.

That spot was maddeningly effective in shaping his narrative despite the fact that he was, at that same time, participating in a lawsuit suing to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which would have entirely done away with protections for preexisting conditions.

Or maybe let’s look at his decision to team up with the face of progressive politics in the Senate to push for larger stimulus payments, which Mitch McConnell is now tying to the repeal of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (which would let people sue social media platforms over users’ content)—something Hawley has been fighting for for a long time.

Are those things connected or am I just formulating my own personal conspiracy theory? At this point, I have no idea but I do know that this is absolutely 100% something no one would be surprised to learn Hawley was responsible for orchestrating.

Our Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill’s feckless centrism was no match for that kind of chaotic fascism in 2018.

That doesn’t mean people in Missouri actually like Hawley. This country elected Trump (if we don’t count the popular vote) and most of us wouldn’t want to be lumped in with that “majority.” Here’s a fun look at what kind of comments spring up on local news outlets whenever Hawley comes up:

That 40-year-old “chinless, self-serving ladder climber” has been the worst since he first took office. Before that, even. Here are just a few things Hawley has done to make headlines during his time as a Missouri senator and the state’s attorney general before that:

  • He blamed human trafficking on the “sexual revolution.”
  • He vowed to only vote for Supreme Court nominees who promised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
  • He once introduced legislation (called the SMART Act) that would have limited people’s access to social media to 30 minutes a day.
  • He is constantly railing against “coastal elites” but he isn’t actually a current Missouri resident. Instead, the KC Star discovered that he’s currently using his sister’s house as his legal residence while living with his family in a $1.3 million Virginia mansion. When asked about his lack of an in-state address, he tries to spin the question as an elitist attack. He also used to criticize Claire McCaskill about her “luxury condo in D.C.”
  • He condemned Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers while also using private email servers to communicate with consultants, violating state laws, in what the founder of the Sunshine and Government Accountability Project called an apparent “full-fledged conspiracy by government officials to communicate off government servers for the purpose of concealing government records from the public.”

He’s also been called “Trump 2.0.” That kind of says it all.

(image: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.