Republican Josh Hawley is coming under fire after he was seen kicking up his feet and seemingly not paying attention during the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
The Missouri lawmaker has long been criticized for his support of Trump’s claims of fraud in the election and for joining efforts to cut the impeachment trial short by declaring it unconstitutional. When those efforts failed and arguments moved forward, Hawley reportedly spent Wednesday proceedings sitting in the upper gallery and kicking up his feet as he read through unrelated materials.
As the Independent reported, he was spotted with his legs crossed and feet propped up on a chair in front of him at various times during arguments on Tuesday, which included graphic presentations of the chaos that took place on January 6 and the attacks against police officers.
The reports drew some criticism, especially among those on the left who had targeted Hawley for his vocal support of Trump’s allegations of fraud. Hawley was one of a handful of Republicans who voted against certifying the results of the election, doing so even after the attack on the Capitol.
But the Missouri Republican contended that he was not zoning out during the trial, saying in an interview that he was going to a place where he could see the impeachment managers better.
“The gallery is — I feel had a little bit better view,” he said, via NBC. “Where I sit over in the Senate chamber is kind of in the corner. So, here you can sit head on. I can also space out a little bit more and it’s just not quite as crowded.”
Hawley had faced calls to resign for his support of Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election, with two of his home state’s major newspapers calling on him to step down. He also came under fire from Jack Danforth, a former senator and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations who was seen as something of a political mentor to Hawley. Danforth had supported Hawley’s initial run for the U.S. Senate, but after he backed the efforts to overturn the results, he came out against his former protege.
“Supporting Josh and trying so hard to get him elected to the Senate was the worst mistake I ever made in my life,” Danforth told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Yesterday was the physical culmination of the long attempt (by Hawley and others) to foment a lack of public confidence in our democratic system. It is very dangerous to America to continue pushing this idea that government doesn’t work and that voting was fraudulent.”