Josh Hawley’s Home Paper Rips Him Over Asian Hate Crime Vote

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Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was the subject of a scathing editorial from The Kansas City Star this week after he was the only Senator who voted against a bill to bolster the government’s response to hate crimes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Hawley claimed that the legislation “turns the federal government into the speech police” and “gives government sweeping authority to decide what counts as offensive speech and then monitor it,” although to be clear, this “speech” that Hawley petulantly complained would get “policed” is “anti-Asian and Pacific Islander sentiment,” as the bill put it.

In other words — is Hawley in favor of allowing Americans to express some form of “anti-Asian” sentiment? Pretending like political criticisms of the Chinese government, which Hawley might have in mind, would somehow automatically get suppressed by legislation against “anti-Asian” sentiment is not realistically credible. “Anti-Asian sentiment” means rhetoric against Asian people that hinges on their ethnic background. It’s not a complicated concept. The legislation also, of course, addresses physical violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has spiked during the pandemic.

As the Star put it:

‘Sen. Josh Hawley, last seen encouraging a riot at the U.S. Capitol, now thinks America is too tough on hate crimes. That’s the only logical conclusion one can draw from Hawley’s vote Thursday against a bill designed to limit assaults and murders based on ethnic hate, including hate of Asian Americans… In short, there is nothing in the bill that is an overreach, unless you think ethnic assaults and murders are acceptable. That’s why 94 U.S. senators approved the legislation Thursday, in a rare show of bipartisanship.’

The publication went on to suggest that Hawley voted against the anti-hate crimes legislation in order to further ingratiate himself with the Fox News crowd. The Star added:

‘Saying the measure is too broad makes no sense, except in the context of [Hawley’s] ongoing attempts to set himself apart as the most extreme on any issue. His unquenchable thirst for Fox News appearances and fundraising cash continues to make this country unsafe, whether it’s from a gang of rioters pushing through the Capitol’s windows or from some lone gunman feverishly surfing the internet for anti-Semitic, or anti-Asian, or anti-Black, or anti-American messages. There is too much bloodshed in this nation. Given a chance to help slow it down, Sen. Hawley demurred, then headed for another camera.’

Again — not a single other Senate Republican decided to vote against the legislation (although a handful of Senators were absent during the vote and didn’t participate). Yet, Hawley smugly decided that now was the time to try and “both sides”-ify the fight against hate crimes.