(USA Features) Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said Tuesday he has no regrets for fist-pumping supporters of then-President Donald Trump gathered in the Capitol Jan. 6 to hear him speak, though a couple of hundred attendees would wind up storming the building in a riot later.
Hawley, who led Republicans in the Senate to object to slates of electors from key battleground states later that day, told the Washington Post that the vast majority of Americans in Washington, D.C. were peaceful and there to hear Trump speak, not riot.
“I waved to them, gave them the thumbs up, pumped my fist to them and thanked them for being there, and they had every right to do that,” Hawley said.
“I don’t know which of those protesters, if any of them, those demonstrators, participated in the criminal riot,” Hawley added. “And I think it’s a slur on the thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of people who came to the Capitol that day to demonstrate peacefully to lump them in with the criminal rioters and say, ‘Oh, you’re all basically the same.’”
Unarmed demonstrator Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, was shot and killed by an officer inside the building as she attempted to crawl through a door with the window shattered. A Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died of a stroke a day after the riot, and three other people died from unspecified conditions not directly related to their actions at the Capitol Building.
Later in the interview with the Post, Hawley repeated earlier statements that Joe Biden is the “duly elected president of the United States” and urged Republicans to “take their stand through the democratic process.”
He also said he believes that the former president will remain formidable in the GOP.
“My view is, is that the former president — he’s a very significant force in the party as it is, and that’s going to be true no matter what,” Hawley said.