Hawley gets boisterous ovation at CPAC for Electoral College objection
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo), who seemed to have become something of a pariah in the Senate since his Electoral College objections on Jan. 6 and his fist-pumping show of encouragement to a pro-Trump crowd outside the Capitol earlier that day, received a boisterous ovation at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday.
Hawley, who admits he’s not popular with his Senate colleagues, basked in the adulation of the conservative crowd, declaring “I’m not going anywhere” and noting efforts by the “radical left, their corporate allies [and] the liberal media to cancel me.”
“I’m here today, I’m not going anywhere and I’m not backing down, not a chance!” Hawley declared on stage in Orlando, Fla., his voice rising to a defiant yell.
“I just want to say to those people who say to us, ‘Oh, you’re the past, your moment has passed, it’s over, it’s Joe Biden’s America now,’ we’re not the past, we’re the future, we represent the future of this country,” he said. “We’re not going to back down to the woke mob, we’re not going to back down to the cancel culture, we’re not going to be told what we can say or do.”
Hawley said conservatives are “facing a fight for the Republic itself” and what he called “an unprecedented alliance between radical liberals and the biggest, most powerful corporations in the history of the world,” referring to Google, Facebook and Twitter.
He said the nation is facing a Big Tech “oligarchy” that wants to rule the country, pointing to Twitter’s decision to ban former President Trump from its platform to address the risk that he might incite further violence after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“The Big Tech corporations have deplatformed conservatives left and right. Shut them up, shut them out, shut them down. Heck, they censored the president of the United States. If they can censor him, they can censor any American citizen and I’ve got my own experience with this, unfortunately,” he said.
When Hawley recalled his decision to objection to the certification of the Electoral College vote — “Maybe you heard about it,” he quipped — he was met with loud, sustained applause.
“I stood up and said, ‘We ought to have a debate about election integrity,’ I said, ‘It is the right of the people to be heard and my constituents in Missouri want to be heard on this issue,’ ” he said.
Here’s josh hawley getting applause for trying to overturn the election
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) February 26, 2021
Hawley noted that Democratic lawmakers have objected to certifying the election results of 11 different states in presidential elections over the past 25 years.
Hawley’s objections on Jan. 6 were unpopular with Democratic and Republican colleagues alike.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the Senate floor that day noted that Trump’s claims of widespread election fraud had been rejected by judges “over and over” including “all-star judges whom the president himself has nominated.”
Earlier this month, McConnell characterized Trump’s election fraud claims as “wild falsehoods.”
But Hawley on Friday said he objected because he wanted to “have a debate on election integrity.”
“I was called a traitor, I was called a seditionist, the radical left said I should be resigned and if I wouldn’t resign, I should be expelled from the United States Senate,” he said.
“I’m not going anywhere, I’m staying right here, I’m going to stand up to you,” he said to loud applause. “Because if we can’t have free and open debate in this country, we’re not going to have a country left.”
Hawley said, “I thought it was an important stand to take” and as a result “the left has come after me, they’ve tried to silence me.”
He noted the publisher Simon & Schuster canceled its plans to publish his book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” shortly after the attack on the Capitol.
“It’s still going to get published by the way, it’ll be out soon,” he said to more applause.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.