An accused insurrection sympathizer seems to be flirting with orchestrating another apparent insurrection, only this time it’s against his own political party.
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who became infamous for holding up his fist in encouragement to rioters shortly before they illegally broke into the U.S. Capitol during a deadly siege on Jan. 6, 2021, is taking steps to rip the GOP after a series of key losses in last week’s midterm elections.
His gripes with Republicans selectively involve the Grand Old Party’s alleged mistreatment of Herschel Walker, the nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia who is facing a runoff election against incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock. Walker, Hawley suggested in a tweet Sunday, will not be treated as a “full member of the Senate” if he wins the runoff next month.
Aside from racial connotations of the word “full,” Hawley’s tweet came as top Senate Republicans moved to keep party leadership elections scheduled for this week instead of delaying them until after the runoff election so that Walker — if he wins — would be able to participate.
The implication is, of course, that Republican Senate leadership views Walker’s runoff election as inconsequential since Democrats have secured their majority in the U.S. Senate with the re-election of Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s re-election.
Hawley’s tweet suggests that he believes Republicans’ treatment of Walker during the runoff election is an indication of how they’ll treat him in victory — as a prop they’ll only call on when beneficial for the party. It also harkens back to the Three-Fifths Compromise that viewed Black people as not being full humans.
There is also the fact that Walker is widely criticized as being unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate amid suspicions Republicans tapped the former football star to run because he, as an African American man with name recognition, would have a good chance to siphon support from Black voters who traditionally cast ballots for Democrats.
But a deeper look at the situation suggested that Hawley wasn’t actually too interested in Walker’s runoff election and instead was focused on discrediting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is being widely blamed by rank-and-file Republicans for the party’s underwhelming performance in the midterm elections.
It appears the Republicans are fractured when it comes to former President Donald Trump, who hand-picked Walker to run for the Senate. It appears that senators loyal to Trump want to delay Republicans’ leadership vote while those gravitating away from the former president and toward Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a presumptive 2024 presidential candidate, want to move forward as scheduled.
Hawley is part of a group of far-right Republicans who want to move the leadership elections from Wednesday to a later date. He has said he will not vote for McConnell as Republicans face in-fighting.
Democrats are in the driver’s seat since they have already held their majority in the U.S. Senate. However, while there may be some levels of complacency on the Democrats’ part since Cortez Mastro’s race was called over the weekend, those results hardly reduce the significance of the Georgia Senate runoff.
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