Speed Reads

Josh's No Good Very Bad Day

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley loses book deal, mentor, major donor after Capitol assault, gains 2 scathing editorials

If Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) thought leading the small band of Republican senators to challenge President-elect Joe Biden's electoral victory on Wednesday would benefit him politically, it appears the opposite happened.

On Thursday, political mentor former Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.) called supporting Hawley's Senate bid "the worst mistake I ever made in my life," a GOP donor who gave millions to his campaigns denounced him as "a political opportunist willing to subvert the Constitution," Simon & Schuster canceled his book deal, and Missouri's two biggest newspapers called on him to resign immediately.

"If Hawley had shown any evidence that there’s a conscience in there somewhere, underneath the ambition and the artifice and the uncommon combo of striving and laziness that he's somehow made work for him," he'd resign, The Kansas City Star said in an editorial. "We can't appeal to a sense of decency that doesn't exist. But we can say that Hawley, who gave a raised fist of encouragement to the likes of that proud lout who put his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk, cannot continue to be our man in Washington, and so will have to be expelled." The Senate, the Star editorialists added, "must do more than censure his treasonous behavior."

"Hawley's tardy, cover-his-ass condemnation of the violence ranks at the top of his substantial list of phony, smarmy, and politically expedient declarations," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said in an editorial. "Hawley's presidential aspirations have been flushed down the toilet because of his role in instigating Wednesday's assault on democracy. He should do Missourians and the rest of the country a big favor and resign now."

Joplin businessman David Humphreys, who personally and with his family largely bankrolled Hawley's state attorney general and Senate races, told the Missouri Independent on Thursday that Hawley "has shown his true colors as an anti-democracy populist by supporting Trump's false claim of a 'stolen election,'" and urged the Senate to censure him.

Simon & Schuster, meanwhile, said it "cannot support Sen. Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom."

Hawley said Simon & Schuster was making a "direct assault on the First Amendment" and threatened to sue for breach of contract.