'A new low': Missouri paper slams Josh Hawley for 'cynical and dangerous' stunt that’s 'making the COVID crisis worse'
Josh Hawley, R- Mo., asks questions during a Senate Homeland Security& Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to discuss election security and the 2020 election process on Dec. 16. - Nash Greg/TNS

Far-right Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri never misses a chance to turn the COVID-19 pandemic into a culture war battle, and that includes President Joe Biden's vaccine/test mandate. The Kansas City Star's editorial board, in a scathing editorial published on October 21, lambasts Hawley for his objection to language used by the Biden Administration when offering guidance on pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines.

Noting what Hawley told three Biden Administration officials in a recent letter, the editorial board explains, "The senator's political opportunism hits a new low…. when he objects to vaccine guidance involving women. It addresses COVID shots for 'people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to become pregnant now, or trying to become pregnant in the future'…. Incredibly, Hawley finds the phrases sinister. He prefers 'expecting' mother."

Hawley said of the Biden Administration's reference to pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines, "It is part of an effort to target religious, conservative, and other civil service employees who do not subscribe to the far-left agenda."

The Star's editorial board, in response, writes, "What? The COVID requirement and guidance and language are designed to save lives, not target conservatives. Saving lives should be on everyone's agenda. In fact, the very guidance Hawley rejects allows for some discretion for pregnant women. 'An agency may allow.… an employee to delay vaccination based on the employee's particular medical circumstances.'"

The Star wraps up its editorial by stressing that Hawley's culture war obsession serves no useful purpose during a pandemic.

"Like all Missourians, we wish Sen. Hawley would focus on real concerns: health care, education, infrastructure and a changing climate, perhaps," the Star's editorial board says. "Instead, he wastes our time and his by focusing on imaginary affronts to the cloudless world in which he lives, mostly for perceived political advantage. He is making the COVID crisis worse to further his political career. It is cynical and dangerous, and must be rejected by Missourians."