After raising a fist in support of the on Jan. 6 Capitol rioters, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) joined the chorus of Republicans calling for the censure of Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters for “inciting violence against law enforcement.”
“Less than a month after leftist psycho murders cop at the Capitol, Maxine Waters back to openly inciting violence against law enforcement ― but still on social media!” Hawley tweeted on Tuesday.
Republicans have seized on comments Waters made over the weekend in Minnesota, telling protesters to stay “active” and “get more confrontational” if former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is acquitted of murdering George Floyd.
“We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational,” Waters said at a Minneapolis rally Saturday after protestors asked her what they should do if Chauvin is not convicted. “We’ve got to be sure that they know we mean business.”
Republican lawmakers called on Democrats to “hold [Waters] accountable.” Some demanded Waters be “immediately removed from Congress.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, (R-Ga.), who was stripped of her committee assignments for spreading conspiracy theories and taunting victims of school shootings, introduced a resolution on the House floor to expel Waters. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who compared the Jan. 6 insurrection to the American Revolution, has joined in the call to censure Waters.
There’s been no shortage of hypocrisy from Republicans, who defended Donald Trump’s lies about the election results, voted overwhelmingly to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory even after the violent mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol, and resisted impeaching Trump for inciting the attack.
Hawley is perhaps one of the highest-profile examples of this hypocrisy. He has rejected claims that he helped instigate the riot, though he said ahead of the attack that Trump’s fate “depends on what happens on Wednesday.”
Hawley continued to spread lies about the riot afterward, attempting to falsely blame anarchist and anti-fascist groups instead of the hundreds of pro-Trump extremists charged by law enforcement. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after the attack and at least 138 officers were injured.
“I don’t know ― I don’t have any evidence that it was antifa,” Hawley said at the time. “I think the criminal rioters ought to go to jail and be punished to the fullest extent of the law, just like the rioters in cities across this country all summer long.”
In his tweet about Waters, Hawley ascribed unfounded “leftist” political motivation behind the Capitol Hill attacker who this month rammed his car into two U.S. Capitol Police officers, killing Officer William Evans. The suspect, who was shot to death by other officers in the attack, reportedly struggled with mental health issues and had become a vocal defender of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Police have not revealed a motive.
Censure of a House member, a formal rebuke, requires a majority vote ― unlikely in the Democratic-led chamber. Democrats defended Waters, who chairs the Financial Services Committee, for her Minnesota appearance.
House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters that Waters’ comments do “not imply violence” and that GOP attacks on her are a “phony effort” to distract from inflammatory Republican rhetoric.