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Hawley threatens to block Biden nominee who vowed to prevent future violence at Capitol

Sen. Josh Hawley, criticized for his role in the Capitol riot, is holding up the confirmation of Biden’s homeland security chief.

By Josh Israel - January 19, 2021
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) pledged Tuesday to obstruct the confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security. His stated reason: Alejandro Mayorkas plans to implement Biden’s immigration reform agenda.

Hawley, who has come under fire for helping to fuel the deadly insurrection by supporters of Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6, made the announcement in a statement released not long after Mayorkas appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In his confirmation hearing before the committee, Mayorkas noted the recent attempted coup in the capital and pledged to do everything possible to prevent future attacks: “The terror that you felt — your colleagues, staff, and everyone present — will not happen again.” He promised to focus on both foreign and domestic terrorism.

Because Senate Republicans did not schedule a hearing until Tuesday, it would require unanimous consent for Mayorkas to be confirmed outside of the usual vetting process. Hawley has no intention of letting that happen.

“On Day 1 of his administration, President-elect Biden has said he plans to unveil an amnesty plan for 11 million immigrants in this nation illegally. This comes at a time when millions of American citizens remain out of work and a new migrant caravan has been attempting to reach the United States. Mr. Mayorkas has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border given President-elect Biden’s promise to roll back major enforcement and security measures,” Hawley’s statement read. “Just today, he declined to say he would enforce the laws Congress has already passed to secure the border wall system. Given this, I cannot consent to skip the standard vetting process and fast-track this nomination when so many questions remain unanswered.”

Since the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Hawley has faced bipartisan criticism and calls to resign from Congress over his own part in inciting it.

He elevated Trump’s false claims that Biden had not legitimately been elected and was the first U.S. senator to say he would object to certifying the results of voting in the Electoral College.

“Millions of voters concerned about election integrity deserve to be heard. I will object on January 6 on their behalf,” he announced via tweet in late December.

Shortly before the violent rioters invaded the Capitol this month, Hawley welcomed them with a fist pump and a thumbs-up.

Two Missouri newspapers have called for him to leave the Senate over his actions. The Kansas City Star’s editorial board titled its call, “Assault on democracy: Sen. Josh Hawley has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt,” while the St. Louis Post-Dispatch complained that Hawley “had the gall to stand before the Senate Wednesday night and feign shock, shock at what happened — hours after he had fist-pumped and cheered the rioters as they arrived on Capitol Hill.”

While Hawley now cites the threat of a caravan of migrants seeking asylum — a frequent Fox News immigration scare tactic — as his reason for delaying confirmation, he previously made it clear that he intended to obstruct anyone Biden picked to be in his Cabinet.

“Democrats deprived President Trump of a working government for four years,” he told reporters in late November. “I can’t imagine that a Republican Senate would immediately turn around and say that I’m just gonna roll over and give a President Biden — if that’s who should become president — give him whatever he wants. So I’d say if I’m them, I suit up, because I think it’s going to be a tough fight.”

Thanks to a pair of Georgia Senate runoff election victories, Republicans will not control the Senate after Wednesday, meaning Hawley’s tactics will likely delay — but not block — Mayorkas’ confirmation.

Still, thanks to his obstruction, Biden will begin his administration without a confirmed appointee to lead the agency tasked with keeping the nation safe.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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