COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A defiant U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley said he will "never apologize" for his Electoral College vote challenge amid an insurrection at the Capitol.
"I will never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections. That’s my job, and I will keep doing it,” Hawley said Thursday in a response to ABC 17 News questions about his actions and violence in the Capitol.
A mob supporting President Donald Trump breached the Capitol on Wednesday as a joint session of Congress met to certify the Electoral College vote -- the final step in affirming President-elect Joe Biden's win before the Jan. 20 inauguration.
Trump's supporters in Congress, including Hawley, pledged to raise objections to votes in key battleground states during the normally ceremonial event. Trump and his supporters continue to assert widespread voter fraud in those states after courts repeatedly rejected those claims.
Hawley was the first sitting senator to say he would object to the counting of some states' results. Many senators backed off their plans to challenge the certification after Wednesday's violence but Hawley proceeded to challenge certification of Pennsylvania's vote.
He was one of six senators who voted to uphold the objection to Arizona's results and one of seven who voted to uphold the Pennsylvania objection. Hawley condemned the violence but said the Senate floor was the proper place to discuss voting issues.
House members representing parts of Mid-Missouri voted to support objections to certifying votes in two states, as well.
Four people died during the violence. One woman was shot by a police officer while trying to get into the House chamber where members of Congress and their staff were hiding from the rioters. Three others died because of medical issues.
Hawley has been widely criticized since the violence erupted. Some of that criticism revolves around a photo of Hawley entering the Capitol on Wednesday with his fist in the air, greeting the pro-Trump group assembled outside.
The Missouri Democratic Party said in a statement after Wednesday's riot that Hawley has "aided and abetted an attack on our democracy and U.S. Capitol. Josh Hawley does not deserve to be called a Senator.”
Book publisher Simon & Schuster said Thursday in a news release that it would no longer publish Hawley's book, "The Tyranny of Big Tech."
"After witnessing the disturbing, deadly insurrection that took place on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Simon & Schuster has decided to cancel publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book, THE TYRANNY OF BIG TECH," the company said. "We did not come to this decision lightly. As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: at the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom."