The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Republicans

Sen. Josh Hawley

Screenshot from Sen. Josh Hawley's website (joshhawley.com)

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has lost the support of another prominent GOP megadonor over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

"Sometimes politicians deceive their donors," billionaire Jeffrey Yass recently wrote in an email, published by the Guardian on Monday, explaining his disappointment in Hawley's actions. Yass, co-founder of trading firm Susquehanna International Group, has donated tens of millions to the right-wing Club for Growth, which spent millions of dollars on Hawley's 2018 victory.

A Hawley spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

Former supporters and media outlets have urging significant punishments for the first-term Republican senator after he helped spread false claims about the 2020 election, cheered on violent insurrectionists not long before they mounted a deadly attempted coup, and voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Since Election Day, Hawley elevated debunked conspiracy theories suggesting that Donald Trump — not President-elect Joe Biden — was the real victor.

He was the first senator to say he would object to certifying the Electoral College results.

"Millions of voters concerned about election integrity deserve to be heard," he tweeted on Dec. 30. "I will object on January 6 on their behalf."

As pro-Trump extremists gathered outside the Capitol prior to the joint session of Congress, Hawley greeted them with a fist pump and a thumbs up.

Another disappointed top GOP donor, roofing magnate David Humphreys, told the Missouri Independent earlier this month that he now believes Hawley to be a "political opportunist" who provoked the riots through "irresponsible, inflammatory, and dangerous tactics" and should be censured by his colleagues.

Humphreys gave millions to Hawley's campaign for Missouri attorney general in 2016 and backed him in his 2018 Senate race by more than $2 million in donations through outside political committees.

Cerner, a Missouri-based health information technology company, told the Kansas City Star last week, that its PAC would suspend donations to Hawley and other GOP lawmakers who "took part in or incited violence." The political action committee has previously given at least $10,000 to Hawley's leadership PAC.

Hawley's mentor, former Sen. John Danforth (R-MO), also denounced his former protégé.

"Supporting Josh and trying so hard to get him elected to the Senate was the worst mistake I ever made in my life," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the riots. "Yesterday was the physical culmination of the long attempt [by Hawley and others] to foment a lack of public confidence in our democratic system. It is very dangerous to America to continue pushing this idea that government doesn't work and that voting was fraudulent."

Hawley is not the only Republican facing significant blowback for trying to overturn the election results.

Former Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA), the former mentor of current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, called out his one-time employee on Friday for backing Trump's "phony lies" about the election.

Dozens of major corporations have announced that they are suspending PAC donations to Republicans who voted to object to Biden's electors being counted, according to a round-up by Popular Information. And more than a dozen newspaper editorial boards around the country have urged those who stoked the insurrection be expelled from Congress.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sen. Ben Sasse

Screenshot from Sen. Ben Sasse's Twitter.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

When a violent mob of insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, some of them could be seen showing off the letter "Q" — representing the QAnon conspiracy cult. The attack itself was seen by many adherents as a culmination of the QAnon worldview.

Sen. Ben Sasse, a conservative Nebraska Republican who openly opposed efforts to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, examines QAnon's influence on his party in an article published by The Atlantic this week. And the senator stresses that other Republicans need to publicly condemn QAnon and other extremists for the good of their party.

"Until last week, many party leaders and consultants thought they could preach the Constitution while winking at QAnon," Sasse explains. "They can't. The GOP must reject conspiracy theories or be consumed by them. Now is the time to decide what this party is about."

QAnon adherents ascribe to a false and delusional worldview in which the federal government of the United States, especially Democrats, has been infiltrated by an international cabal of child sex traffickers, pedophiles, Satanists and cannibals and that President Donald Trump was put in the White House to lead the struggle against the cabal. The conspiracy fiction has deep roots in anti-Semitic myths. Some QAnon supporters in the GOP have been elected to Congress, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

According to Sasse, no good can comr from having extremists like Greene in the Republican Party.

"The newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs," Sasse writes. "She once ranted that 'there's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.' During her campaign, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had a choice: disavow her campaign and potentially lose a Republican seat, or welcome her into his caucus and try to keep a lid on her ludicrous ideas. McCarthy failed the leadership test and sat on the sidelines."

Sasse continues, "If the GOP is to have a future outside the fever dreams of internet trolls, we have to call out falsehoods and conspiracy theories unequivocally. We have to repudiate people who peddle those lies."

The Nebraska Republican warns that having Greene in Congress makes the GOP look unhinged.

"She's already announced plans to try to impeach Joe Biden on his first full day as president," Sasse notes. "She'll keep making fools out of herself, her constituents and the Republican Party."

Sasse points Jan. 6 insurrection as a tragic example of what can happen when Republicans promote or encourage unhinged conspiracy theorists. And he warns that fellow Republicans cannot be neutral where extremists like QAnon are concerned — they must take a stand.

"Whatever the RepublicanParty does, it faces an ugly fight," Sasse explains. "The fracture that so many politicians on the right have been trying desperately to avoid may soon happen. But if the party has any hope of playing a constructive, rather than destructive, part in America's future, it must do two things. First, Republicans must repudiate the nonsense that has set our party on fire…..Second, the party has to rebuild itself."