During an interview with Axios reporter Mike Allen, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) got roundly shut down for his false claims regarding U.S. election integrity. Infamously, Hawley was the first Senator to announce that they’d be challenging the certification of the presidential election results earlier this year, and since such challenges need the support of at least one member of both chambers of Congress to move forward, Hawley’s announcement sent significant shock waves through the political system. Even, however, if Hawley, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and those who think like them pretend as though they’re simply after greater verification of election security, that’s disingenuous too — last year’s presidential election results underwent rounds and rounds of vigorous scrutiny in every state. Pretending like there’s some open question of security is absurd.
Asked about the potential ramifications for “faith in democracy” of Republicans trying to meddle with election outcomes that aren’t in their favor, Hawley insisted that the “most important thing is that our elections have integrity.” Allen subsequently noted that there’s no “widespread fraud,” to which Hawley replied that there’s “fraud in every election” — but the general idea of fraud being out there is not the same as the “widespread fraud” that Allen referenced and which Trump has consistently claimed was responsible for Biden’s win. This nonsense is what Republicans like Hawley have been left with: false equivalencies.
Allen cut Hawley off, pointing out as follows:
‘As you know, President Trump’s Attorney General said there was not widespread fraud in the 2020 election. And yet, look at any poll, a lot of Republicans still doubt it.’
Asked if such worried him, Hawley replied that it did not. He added as follows:
‘First of all, there’s a longstanding tradition in this country of vigorously contesting elections and people who have lost elections that are close going to court… The Democrats do it; the Republicans do it. I mean that’s just the fact of our elections. I don’t think that’s new.’
What is new, however, is the “contesting” of elections culminating in violence such as what took place at the Capitol in January, and Hawley’s continuing refusal to admit to the distinction of current circumstances from historical ones helps to ensure that something like the Capitol riot could happen again.