A “smug” Sen. Josh Hawley was captured in leaked footage berating a journalist for criticizing Elon Musk in social media posts, Riverfront Times reports.
The senior Republican senator from Missouri is heard in the approximately three-minute video questioning KSDK political editor Mark Maxwell over his criticisms of the Tesla and Twitter CEO, questioning the journalist’s sobriety and making an apparent veiled threat to the journalist over future access to the lawmakers.
Maxwell initially went along with what the Riverfront Times described as an “inquisition,” telling Hawley he was expressing frustration with the "Why all the hate for people who like free speech on Twitter? What's going on with that?" Hawley asked Maxwell during a pre-interview.
The article ran under the headline: “Leaked Footage Captures Josh Hawley Acting Like a Smug (expletive).”
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"I mean, we give you a lot of access. I just want to make sure you're actually sober and taking this seriously, good Lord in heaven," Hawley tells Maxwell.
Hawley pointed to one Maxwell tweet criticizing Musk as “vitriolic.”
“Does anyone still think Elon buying this site and firing all the experts was a good idea?” Maxwell’s tweet said.
“It's been a while since I've seen any of his bootlickers brag on how efficient the site is now that Sir Galaxy Brain is in charge."
Maxwell said some of his harshest criticisms of Musk occurred at “a moment of frustration when the site went down.”
“Never mind that in this footage it's Hawley who looks like a stupid son of a b*tch, a pedantic school marm who lectures people and threatens their access while feigning concern about their Twitter manners,” Riverfront Times’ Sarah Fenske wrote.
“And never mind that someone in Hawley's team apparently prepped him by digging through his interlocutor's tweets (as if a senator and his staff shouldn't have better things to do!)”
According to Fenske, the treatment of the journalist was payback for a KSDK article ridiculing Hawley’s claim that Silicon Valley Bank was rescued because it’s “too woke to fail,” which a Yale professor described as “irrelevant” and “delusional.”