Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley said Tuesday that he doesn’t regret his fist pump to the crowd at President Trump’s Jan. 6 rally that preceded the Capitol riot.
Hawley said that he walked by a peaceful group of people attending the rally and “waved to them, gave them a thumbs up,” and “pumped” his fist to them. He said he also “thanked them for being there, and they had every right to do that,” in an interview for the Washington Post.
Hawley was then asked if he regretted waving to the crowd given the events that followed at the Capitol.
He responded, “No, because I don’t know which of those protesters if any of them, those demonstrators, participated in the criminal riot and I think it’s a slur on the thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of people who came to the Capitol that day to demonstrate peacefully, to lump them in with the criminal rioters, and say ‘oh you’re all basically the same.'”
He went on to stress the importance of differentiating between peaceful protesters and rioters.
“Throughout all last summer we heard over and over that it’s important to distinguish between the peaceful protesters in the BLM protests and the rioters. I agreed with that then. I said that then. I think the same is true with those on January 6.”
Hawley was criticized after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol for voting in objection to the certification of the Electoral College results, and for the widely circulated photo of him waving to the crowd at the capitol. (RELATED: Hawley Raises $3 Million In Three Months After Objecting To Biden’s Victory)
Simon & Schuster cancelled the publication of his book shortly after and House Democrats demanded an ethics investigation into both him and Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Hawley called this “none other than a transparent attempt by seven Senators to punish a political opponent for the entirely lawful representation of their constituents.”
Hawley has been widely cited as a potential contender in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, although he has said that he won’t run.