Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) made an inadvertently comedic cameo at the Jan. 6 committee’s primetime hearing Thursday night when Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) laid out what Donald Trump’s most loyal congressional supporters were up to during the Capitol insurrection.
“Senator Josh Hawley also had to flee,” Luria said. “Earlier that afternoon, before the joint session started, he walked across the east front of the Capitol.”
“As you can see in this photo, he raised his fist in solidarity with the protesters already amassing at the security gates,” she added, displaying the iconic photo of Hawley on the morning of Jan. 6. “We spoke with a Capitol Police officer who was out there at that time. She told us that Senator Hawley’s gesture riled up the crowd, and it bothered her greatly because he was doing it in a safe space, protected by the officers and the barriers.”
Then came the twist. “Later that day, Senator Hawley fled after those protesters he helped to rile up stormed the Capitol,” Luria said, before adding, “See for yourself.”
With that, the committee room was treated to the slow-motion security camera footage of Hawley running across the screen to evade the rioters who had violently entered his safe space.
Multiple reporters conveyed that the video of Hawley was met with “loud laughter” by those watching inside the hearing room. “It was a badly needed moment of levity in a room that was increasingly (understandably) tense and dark,” MSNBC’s Ali Vitali tweeted.
“Think about what we’ve seen,” Luria concluded. “Undeniable violence at the Capitol, the vice president being evacuated to safety by the Secret Service, senators running through the hallways of the senate to get away from the mob. As the commander in chief, President Trump was oath and duty-bound to protect the Capitol.”
But as we now know from Thursday’s testimony, he actively chose not to do that.