The Missouri senator is learning that being an unctuous, undemocratic worm has its up$ides.
There is perhaps no more indelible image of the Jan. 6 insurrection on the United States Capitol complex than that of sedition-mongering Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, pumping his fist at — and in support of — the assembled crowd that would become a violent mob intent on overturning the 2020 presidential election.
Okay, that’s not entirely true: there’s the image of a howling “Q shaman,” and shots of the racist “Camp Auschwitz” guy, and panoramas of the Capitol facade shrouded in smoke and bodies and a gallows in the distance. But other than that, Hawley’s smarmy gesture of solidarity with the would-be overturnistas has come to embody not only the insurrection itself, but the degree to which it was encouraged and instigated by members of the official body that was being targeted in the first place.
And even if Hawley’s fist-pump isn’t the most iconic image of the insurrection, it is the best encapsulation of the current state of the Republican Party in the year 2022. Because after the GOP essentially wrote off the attempted overthrow of the government as “legitimate political discourse,” Hawley has taken the wildly unsubtle cue from the party leadership that it’s not only perfectly fine to embrace the events of Jan. 6, but that doing so is essentially the easiest way to make some quick cash from the GOP’s sedition-hungry base, 20 bucks at a time.
“Liberals are so easily triggered, and this new mug is really whipping the left into a frenzy!” a new fundraising email from the Hawley camp says. “Josh isn’t scared — he’s show-me strong! This Made in America mug is the perfect way to enjoy coffee, tea, or liberal tears! Check it out below, and order one for yourself or any woke friend or family member that you want to trigger!”
As The New York Times’s Jonathan Martin noted, the mugs seem to have first debuted at a Missouri GOP conference this past weekend — but according to The Kansas City Star, those mugs were emblazoned with a “made in China” sticker. The ones being sold through Hawley’s campaign email explicitly claim to be made in America.
Regardless of their provenance, the fact that the mugs exist at all is a clear sign that the GOP has fully made its peace with the Jan. 6 insurrection — so much so that they’re actively trying to make money off it. In part, that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise; former President Donald Trump has been using the insurrection as a fundraising, headline-grabbing justification for his continued insinuation at a second presidential run. And as goes Trump, so goes the rest of the Republican Party of 2022 — a party where flashing glib culture war shibboleths is frequently more important than having an actual policy.
That’s where we are now: an entire political party has gambled its future on a base that wants to be reminded of the time they came this close to overturning the government the next time they have a sip of coffee.