Never one to shy away from cheap political theatrics, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has been calling for President Joe Biden to resign in response to the Taliban taking over Afghanistan — failing to mention that Biden was essentially following former President Donald Trump's plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from that country. The Kansas City Star's editorial board, in a scathing editorial published on September 16, lambasts the Missouri Republican for "shamelessly exploiting" the Afghanistan crisis.
"Missouri's best-known insurrectionist, Sen. Josh Hawley, is still trying to accomplish what he could not pull off with his power-to-the-rioters raised fist on January 6," the Star's editorial board writes. "You're not going to believe this, but in a Senate floor speech, he called on President Joe Biden to resign. It's a difficult speech to watch, shamelessly exploiting as it does the deaths of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen for political gain."
The Star's editorial board adds that as appalling as Hawley's speech was, it's important to watch a video of the speech because it shows his total disregard for the will of U.S. voters in the 2020 presidential election.
"Hawley's threat to our republic is real and ongoing," the Star warns. "The senator's desire to overthrow the people's choice for president has not abated."
Some right-wing Republicans have at least been consistent in their criticism of Biden and the Afghanistan withdrawal. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, both outspoken Trump critics in the GOP, have been arguing that Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's plan for withdrawal from Afghanistan was horribly flawed and that Biden was wrong to follow it. But Hawley, a devout Trump supporter, has flip flopped badly; earlier this year, Hawley wanted the U.S. to remove its troops from Afghanistan sooner rather than later.
On April 13, Hawley tweeted, "President Biden should withdraw troops in Afghanistan by May 1, as the Trump administration planned, but better late than never. It's time for this forever war to end."
The Star's editorial board stresses, "Let the record show what Hawley desperately wants us to forget: He was an enthusiastic supporter of abandoning Afghanistan — not on August 30, when the final troops departed, but months earlier, in May…. Apparently, Hawley's imitation of a peacenik has a sell-by date, which is whenever the Missouri Republican decides there are partisan points to be made…. Does Josh Hawley, or anyone, think a withdrawal on May 1 would have been more successful or orderly than the one in August? No. Would Trump have done better? The idea is laughable."
In light of Hawley's insurrectionist activities on January 6, the Star's editorial board writes, he is the last person who should playing the patriotic card.
"The House select committee investigating the insurrection at the Capitol should deeply investigate Hawley's role in the events of that awful day," the Star's editorial board writes. "When our democracy itself was under attack, he stood with those attempting to bring it down."