Josh Hawley's mentor says supporting the senator was the 'biggest mistake I’ve ever made'

Josh Hawley's mentor says supporting the senator was the 'biggest mistake I’ve ever made'
President Donald J. Trump meets with states attorneys general on protecting consumers from social media abuse Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri discovered on Thursday that, following his efforts to overturn the 2020 election that helped fuel the anti-democratic siege of the U.S. Capitol, he has alienated some of his own allies.

In a stunning interview with The Kansas City Star, Hawley's mentor, former Missouri Sen. John Danforth, said supporting the senator's career was "the biggest mistake I've ever made in my life."

"I thought he was special," Danforth said. "I don't know if he was always like this and good at covering it up or if it happened. I just don't know."

The former senator blamed his protege for the violence unleashed on Wednesday, which reportedly led to four deaths.

"But for him, the approval of the Electoral College votes would have been simply a formality," Danforth said. "He made it into something that it was a specific way to express the view that the election was stolen. He was responsible."

Hawley was the first senator who publicly agreed to challenge the counting of some of Joe Biden's Electoral College votes in a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. For the chambers to hear a full debate on the objections, both a member of the House and a senator must object. Hawley's announcement raised hopes that the ceremony might somehow overturn Trump's loss, even though it was clear from the start that Congress would not allow it. After the violent mob of Trump supporters interrupted the vote counting on Wednesday afternoon, Congress reconvened and finished affirming Biden's win by early Thursday morning.

Hawley suffered another blow on Thursday evening as Simon & Schuster announced it would no longer agree to publish his forthcoming book on big tech. With apparently no sense of irony, he attacked the publisher much more harshly than he condemned the actual rioters who stormed the Capitol, calling it a "woke mob." He also falsely suggested that it infringed on his First Amendment rights to withdraw his book deal, even though the publisher is a private company:

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.