Missouri AFGE members: ‘Josh Hawley does not speak for us’
By TIM ROWDEN
A steady drumbeat is growing in demand that Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) resign following his unfounded challenge to the 2020 election results and his encouragement and incitement of the pro-Trump, anti-democracy assault on the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 that resulted in the deaths of six Americans.
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Locals 2192 and 96, joined by Pat White, president of the St. Louis Labor Council and members of the Laborers, Electrical Workers, Sprinkler Fitters, Iron Workers, Communications Workers, Insulators and other unions gathered Jan. 12 in a protest in front of the Thomas F. Eagleton federal courthouse in downtown St. Louis, where Hawley’s district office is located, calling for his resignation.
After hearing from several speakers, about 100 protestors got into their cars and circled the building housing Hawley’s office six times – once for each life lost as a result of the Capitol Riot – calling out Hawley’s anti-democratic challenge to the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election and his tacit encouragement of the pro-Trump extremists who stormed the Capitol building.
President Donald Trump lost the election to Democrat Joe Biden by overwhelming numbers, but he and his supporters challenged the results, citing false claims of voting irregularities in several states – claims were thrown out by state courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Hawley, in an appeal to Trump’s far-right base, mounted a hopeless challenge to the Pennsylvania election results on Jan. 6 as Congress had gathered to certify the Electoral College results. Demonstrating the true motives behind his challenge, he was photographed outside of Capitol with his fist in the air, showing solidarity with the pro-Trump extremists who stormed the Capitol before violence erupted.
‘BLOOD ON HIS HANDS’
“This is a man who has deep knowledge of the law. He’s a Yale Law School grad. He knows what is lawful and what is unlawful. And he threw his support – very public fist of support – behind those with no respect for the law,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said to the group assembled outside Hawley’s office. “Josh Hawley has blood on his hands, and he is entirely and completely unrepentant. He is not fit to represent the good people of Missouri because he has chosen to instead represent the worst of America – the violent, fascist thugs who desecrated our democracy on Jan. 6 and every day since.”
In addition to the St. Louis Labor Council, the AFGE rally was joined by several advocacy groups including the St. Louis County NAACP, St. Louis Jobs with Justice, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists – St. Louis Chapter, RESIST St. Louis, and others.
‘HE DOES NOT SPEAK FOR US’
“Sen. Hawley doesn’t care about the community he’s supposed to represent, nor does he care about the safety and the wellbeing of the folks that work in that Capitol building, like the janitors, the food service workers, as well as his Congressional cohorts whose lives he put at risk,” said AFGE Local 2192 President Keena Smith, representing Veterans Benefit administration employees in St. Louis. “ Sen. Hawley incited a domestic terrorist attack on our nation’s Capital… There is blood on his hands.
“We are protesting to protect our democracy and hold our elected officials accountable,” Smith said. “We’re here to let it be known that Josh Hawley does not speak for us. [He] has stated that he ‘acted in the interests of Missourians.’ This is 100 percent untrue. He acted in the interests of himself. This was his shot to cozy up to Trump’s base ahead of his 2024 presidential run. He is a selfish man who exploited the lies of Donald Trump, and he must resign now.”
‘DANGEROUS’ AND ‘REMORSELESS’
“Josh Hawley is a dangerous, remorseless man whose lies led to the deaths of six people,” said Jonay McCall, AFGE Local 96 President at the VA Medical Center in St. Louis. “He lied to his and President Trump’s supporters, and they believed him when he said they should do everything in their power to overturn a democratic election. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be our next president and vice president, and Josh Hawley knows that. His actions were reckless and inexcusable, and he has lost his privilege to represent the people of Missouri. He must resign now.”
VOTE HIM OUT
Pat White, president of the St. Louis Labor Council, called on the crowd to follow the example of Georgia.
“If Georgia, a more southern state than us, can send a Black pastor and a Jewish white guy to the Senate, there’s no reason Missouri can’t do the same two years from now,” White said. “We all know that these guys aren’t going to resign. We need to find a candidate, just like they did in Georgia and the unions did in Georgia, to beat this guy in two years. We are going to find that candidate and get a Labor friendly person. When you’ve got Marty Walsh (the Boston mayor, union Laborer and former head of the Boston Building and Construction Trades Council nominated by President-Elect Joe Biden to serve as secretary of Labor) and other Labor friendly people that are going to be in the cabinet, we know that the new president is going to be our friend, and we can surround him with friends. It’s going to start with rejecting Josh Hawley in two years.”