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Sen. Josh Hawley Faces Backlash From GOP Colleagues Over New Action

Republicans say freshman senator's actions threaten 2022 GOP majority.
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) listens while Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the second day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on October 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who passed away in September.
Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

Freshman Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has reportedly angered his fellow Republican colleagues in the Senate with his decision to object to the Electoral College vote next week, with many Republicans worrying that his decision will damage those who are expected to be in tight races two years from now.

Hawley, 41, announced this week that he would object to the certification process on January 6 by highlighting the alleged failures of some states, especially Pennsylvania, to follow their own election laws and social media companies intervening in the election to slow down the spread of damaging news reports on Democrat Joe Biden.

In an announcement, Hawley noted that Democrats in Congress have objected to presidential election victories by Republican presidents in 2004 and 2016, adding that they were “praised” by “the media when they did.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reportedly called out Hawley during a phone call on Thursday and asked him to explain his decision after party leadership warned that any such move could harm their chances in 2022, thus endangering their ability to provide a much-needed check on Biden, who has promised to be one of “the most progressive” presidents in U.S. history.

However, McConnell was met by silence because Hawley reportedly failed to join the call with his Republican colleagues. Hawley’s critics say he is using his planned objection to fill his fundraising account and to build his brand nationally.

“The Missouri senator has rankled senior Republicans with his maneuver, and McConnell has made the case that voting to object to the election results — which is likely doomed to fail because of opposition from Democrats as well as some Republicans — will force senators to choose between defying President Donald Trump and taking the unprecedented step of overturning an election,” Politico reports. “McConnell has also expressed concern that the vote could hurt GOP senators facing tough general election fights by alienating moderate voters. Opposing the GOP-led objection, meanwhile, could jeopardize Republicans’ primary prospects by turning off voters who are convinced the election was stolen from Trump.”

Sources told CNN that McConnell was giving Republican Senators room to voice their objections and vote their conscience next week.

Axios reported that McConnell called next week’s vote “the most consequential I have ever cast.” A source told Axios that “the context was McConnell saying we’re being asked to overturn the results after a guy didn’t get as many electoral votes and lost by 7 million popular vote.”

Hawley was pressed on Fox News this week about his announcement that he would object to the Electoral College certification and was asked about criticism that he has received from his own party that he is really just looking to boost his own profile ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

“That’s ridiculous,” Hawley said. “I’m not running for president. I’m the senator from Missouri. I have a responsibility to speak on behalf of my constituents and to stand up and take a stand where I can. And I say again this is the opportunity that I have to do it. By the way, the Democrats have done it before. They did it in 2004. They did it in 2016. And they were praised lavishly by the media, by Democratic leaders for making election integrity a point. And now, when Republicans want to do it, we’re called unpatriotic, we’re called traitors? That’s ridiculous. I’m going to stand and take this stance, I’m going to force this debate. And I hope that change will come because of it.”

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