Josh Hawley Just Gave Us the How It Started/How It’s Going for Jan. 6

Josh Hawley fist-pumped the Capitol rioters on Jan. 6—and then he ran from them.
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Left: A photo of Republican Sen. Josh Hawley raising his fist outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 (Getty Images) Right: Footage played of Hawley running away from the rioters. 

The Congressional hearings into what happened on Jan. 6 haven’t exactly provided viewers with much comic relief or meme-able material so far. 

That is, until Thursday, when the committee played surveillance video that showed Republican Sen. Josh Hawley literally sprinting from rioters inside the Capitol, just hours after he cheered them on with an infamous fist pump. 

In the video, he’s seen running through a hallway and scurrying down the Senate escalator, in an effort to reach safety. 


The internet quickly seized upon the video and set it to a variety of soundtracks, including the Benny Hill theme, Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” the “Sir Robin Theme” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Looney Tunes’ outro music, “That’s All Folks.” 

Even the audience present for Thursday’s hearing immediately laughed. 

Hawley’s fearful demeanor was a stark contrast to the swaggering photo he posed for outside the Capitol earlier that day. Rep. Elaine Luria also showed that photo at Thursday’s hearing, which was taken as Hawley passed protesters gathering at the gates of the Capitol. Luria said the committee had heard testimony from an officer who recalled how the gesture had “riled up” the crowd. 

Although he later feared for his safety, Hawley continued to defend his supportive gesture of the rioters. 

“I waved to them, gave them the thumbs-up, pumped my fist to them and thanked them for being there, and they had every right to do that,” Hawley told the Washington Post months after Jan. 6. 

Like many of his Republican colleagues, Hawley positioned himself as a supporter of the rioters, which became an increasingly politically popular position among the GOP in the months following Jan. 6. 

“I don’t know which of those protesters, if any of them, those demonstrators, participated in the criminal riot,” Hawley told the Post. “And I think it’s a slur on the thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of people who came to the Capitol that day to demonstrate peacefully to lump them in with the criminal rioters and say, ‘Oh, you’re all basically the same.’”