Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) at the U.S. Capitol on February 02, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (L). Hawley's new merchandise promotes his fist-pumping photo taken just before the Jan. 6, 2021 riot (R). (Photos by Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images, Hawley's campaign storefront)
Well, this is a different kind of Jan. 6 mug shot.Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley’s team has taken the infamous photo of him fist-pumping the Capitol protesters shortly before the Jan. 6, 2021, riot and put it on a coffee mug, seeking to cash in on his efforts to block democracy for $20 a pop.
Hawley’s team has to know he’d get roasted for this mug—and did so anyway knowing that “owning the libs” would help him raise some campaign cash and could help his political aspirations. Hawley led efforts in the Senate to block certification of President Biden’s victory in two swing states on the day of the riot, and his decision to literally profit off this effort shows exactly how much the internal GOP conversation has shifted in the year since supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.Hawley has previously defended his fist-pump.“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,” he told the Washington Post last May. “I don’t know which of those protesters, if any of them, those demonstrators, participated in the criminal riot,” he continued. “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.’ ”
There’s a clear difference between the actual violent rioters on that day and those who simply were there to support Trump’s lies about the election and hope that Congress would peacefully corrupt democracy by moving to block Biden’s democratic victory.But while Hawley saluted the crowd before he knew they’d riot, he decided to continue on with his plan to try to block Biden’s election victory, fuel false conspiracy theories about the election, and score points with Trump’s MAGA base just hours after the riot had been quelled. And this marketing ploy is the latest sign of how little shame he feels about that.It’s been clear for months that the Republicans who celebrate and defend Jan. 6 are the ones best-positioned to raise big bucks from the GOP base. Trump himself raised more than $50 million in the second half of 2021, and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene hauled in $7.5 million since joining Congress last year, an eye-popping number for a freshman lawmaker.Former Vice President Mike Pence, whom some in the Jan. 6 mob hoped to lynch for his refusal to go along with Trump’s antidemocratic scheme, used to describe himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf.” Hawley, on the other hand, seems intent on keeping things over-caffeinated. He’s literally mugging for MAGA.