As Sen. Josh Hawley faces mounting pressure to resign from Congress after embracing President Trump’s election challenge, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has remained silent on whether his fellow Republican should step down.
Parson, who was sworn in on Monday, dodged a question the same day about whether Hawley, the junior senator from Missouri, should resign, instead urging reporters to focus on his inauguration.
“You know, everybody has to be responsible for the decisions they make, good or bad, indifferent,” Parson said, according to the Kansas City Star. “That’s what I’ll say.”
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While Parson acknowledged there has been “a lot of discussion on this,” he asked that attention remain on his inauguration calling it a “special day for me and for my family” and “for our state.”
“We’ll be talking about Washington, D.C., every day from hereafter probably on some level on that,” he added.
Hawley, who was photographed saluting pro-Trump protesters before they stormed the Capitol, has faced severe political blowback since Wednesday’s deadly riots: a former mentor disavowed him, Simon & Schuster abandoned plans to publish his upcoming book, a prominent donor who gave Hawley millions called for him to be censured and Democrats, as well as a handful of Republicans, have accused him of helping to incite the violence that left five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, dead.
Hawley, alongside Sen. Ted Cruz, emerged as one of the most ardent advocates in the Senate for challenging the certification of the Electoral College votes, leading a group of 11 senators who demanded a 10-day delay to audit the election results, though no evidence of widespread fraud has emerged in the two months since the election.
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The senators eventually withdrew their objections for Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, but Hawley co-signed the opposition to Pennsylvania once the Senate reconvened in the wake of the siege, drawing a swift rebuke from some of his colleagues.
“Sen. Hawley was doing something that was really dumba–,” Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican, told NPR on Friday. “This was a stunt. It was a terrible, terrible idea. And you don’t lie to the American people. And that’s what’s been going on.”
Former Missouri Sen. John Danforth, a close Hawley mentor before the protests unfolded, told the Kansas City Star that Hawley was responsible for the riot and that supporting him was “the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life.”
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Hawley, who condemned the violence, has brushed aside the resignation calls.
“I will never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections,” Hawley said in a statement Thursday. “That’s my job, and I will keep doing it.”