Midterm elections: Hawley slams ‘Washington Republicanism’ after Red Wave fizzles out

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., issued a scathing statement Thursday blaming “Washington Republicanism” for the Republican Party’s mixed performance on Election Day.

“Washington Republicanism lost badly Tuesday night,” Hawley tweeted Thursday morning after the GOP lost several key races in Pennsylvania and elsewhere that it needed to win to regain the Senate majority.

“If your ‘agenda’ is to concede before Big Pharma on insulin, concede before Schumer on gun control and the Green New Deal (‘infrastructure’), and tease changes on Social Security and Medicare, you lose,” Hawley said, tearing his colleagues for supporting bipartisan agreements on arms control and infrastructure.

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“What are Republicans actually doing for working people?” he added. “How about to start: tougher tariffs on China, save US jobs, open American energy at full throttle, 100,000 new cops on the streets. Clear out the system.”

The Missouri senator’s complaint comes days after he said he would not support Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for another term as Republican leader.

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Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is questioning Peiter "mud" Zatko, former Twitter security chief, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Twitter data security on Capitol Hill, September 13, 2022, in Washington, DC

Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., questions Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, Twitter’s former chief of security, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Twitter data security September 13, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC
(Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“I’m not sure if another senator will run or not. Nobody has suggested this. But I think we need new leadership in this position,” he told reporters in Springfield, Missouri, on Monday. Hawley made the comments at a campaign rally for Senator-elect Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., who has also said he will not support McConnell.

Senate Republicans will hold leadership elections on November 16th. In addition to Hawley opposing McConnell, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., has not committed to voting for McConnell. There is speculation that Scott will throw his hat in the ring for the GOP lead, but no formal challenger has emerged for McConnell.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, exits a news conference following the weekly Republican caucus luncheon at the US Capitol in Washington, DC September 28, 2022.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, exits a news conference following the weekly Republican caucus luncheon at the US Capitol in Washington, DC September 28, 2022.
(Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Former President Trump, who teased a Nov. 15 announcement regarding a possible 2024 presidential campaign, has openly defied McConnell’s leadership and vowed to oust him if he ever returns to the White House.

“This guy doesn’t deserve to continue being a leader and hopefully someone will challenge him,” Trump said said in a radio interview November 3rd. “But I’m telling you, if I run and if I win, he won’t be the leader.”

Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks during a press conference following a Republican Senate luncheon at the US Capitol September 28, 2022 in Washington, DC

Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks during a press conference following a Republican Senate luncheon at the US Capitol September 28, 2022 in Washington, DC
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

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Until then, McConnell will have support from key members of his conference.

“My expectation is that Senator McConnell will be re-elected as the chair of the Republican Conference. And I support him,” Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the No. 3 Republican, told Politico on Wednesday. “You have to stand up and say you’re running if you want to run for something like this at the conference. And I haven’t heard of any challenge in the current leadership.”

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