In a written piece published by Fox News, Senator Josh Hawley’s wife, a senior legal fellow at Independent Women’s Law Center, describes the recent “assault” on her family’s home.
Erin M. Hawley recounts the evening when she was watching a movie with her then-seven-week-old daughter and “the sound of angry voices drowned out the TV.” She walked upstairs to find around 20 people protesting and “shouting through bullhorns” outside the house. After they refused to leave, she went downstairs only to return to find “at least three large men” blocking the porch and shouting “Come out, come out” into their bullhorns.
Fifteen minutes later, the police arrived and “informed the protesters that they were violating at least three laws.” The protesters left shortly after, but not before leaving signs on her lawn and chalk graffiti messages on the sidewalk. Before leaving, they warned they would “return morning, noon, and night.”
Hawley notes that this type of rhetoric has not disappeared from her family’s life, adding that “the protesters and others have accused my husband of overreacting and have referred to my family as ‘snowflakes.’ And a police department spokesperson (who was not on the scene) has since described the protest as ‘peaceful’ and a ‘minor’ incident.”
Hawley expresses how happy she is that her two young boys were out of town that night, saying, “they would have been terrified.” When the Senator’s wife was reconnected with the children, she took them to a friend’s house, them believing the change in plans was a “fun, surprise sleepover.”
This is the main point Hawley makes in her piece for Fox News. She writes that if her sons had been home, the incident would have had a much larger effect on them.
“And wasn’t that really the point? Why else would protestors come armed with bullhorns to a family home at dark? What other purpose to staging a night-time protest if not to terrorize the almost-certainly-to-be-home family?”
Hawley concedes that anyone can disagree or agree with the policies her husband promotes, and she adds that public protests at office buildings are “both appropriate and protected by the First Amendment.”
While she believes that the ability to peaceably disagree is “one of our most precious protections,” she also notes that the First Amendment allows governments to protect their citizens “from harassment and to prescribe reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on protest-like events.”
Instead of the evening resulting in a moment of peaceful protest or disagreement, Hawley believes that the “assault on our home” and “personal attacks on our family” do not fall under civil discourse. Rather, “they are just meant to frighten.”
But the Senator’s wife still has hope. She recalls the kindness of friends and neighbors during and after the fearful night. She tells of friends who “scrubbed the sidewalk in the cold,” a neighbor who invited her over during the protests, and a friend who left home so quickly to come to Hawley’s aid that she didn’t have time to put shoes on.
Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri was one of the senators who objected to certifying the Electoral College count on January 6. Prior to the rioting that took place later that day, the senator was photographed raising his fist outside the Capitol building to a peaceful crowd:
From our Francis Chung, Sen. Josh Hawley greeting protesters in the east side of the Capitol before riots began. pic.twitter.com/I8DjBCDuoP
— Manuel Quinones (@ManuelQ) January 6, 2021
The photo and Hawley’s position on election certification drew harsh criticism.
The Senator from Missouri wrote an op-ed explaining his objection a week after the violence took place, writing,
“Let me say again, as I have said before: the lawless violence at the Capitol last week was criminal. There can be no quibbling about that. Those who engaged in it should be prosecuted and punished. Lawless violence undermines the democratic process by which we settle our disputes and threatens our democratic life. That applies to mobs of any and all political persuasions. Mob violence is always wrong.”
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