As more and more arrests roll in following the attempted coup at the Capitol building on Jan. 6, one of the men most responsible for helping light the fuse for that particular powder keg would like the world to know that, no, he's not sorry, and if you think he's even remotely to blame for what happened then, frankly, you're the problem buddy, not him!
The man in question would be Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (R), who led the charge to challenge President-elect Joe Biden's repeatedly litigated, unambiguous electoral victory over President Trump. Hawley has been making a full-court press attempt to push back on the growing effort to hold him and his fellow sedition enthusiast, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), responsible for their role in setting the stage for the inevitable, tragic outcome of their combined rhetoric. This week, Hawley published an opinion piece in The Missouri Times claiming his objection to accepting Biden's electors in the Senate was strictly in the service of election integrity and in the spirit of robust democratic debate.
"Sadly, much of the media and many members of the Washington establishment want to deceive Americans into thinking those who raised concerns incited violence, simply by voicing the concern," Hawley insisted. "That's false. And the allegation itself is corrosive and dangerous."
While Hawley does make an attempt to denounce the violence that took place at the Capitol — complete with a predictably "both sides" coda that "that applies to mobs of any and all political persuasions" — his sorry-not-sorry essay smacks of a Trumpian instinct to simply never admit fault, or accept responsibility for one's actions, no matter how grotesque the outcome or obvious the fault.
Cruz has similarly defended his role in, if not instigating, at least validating the Capitol insurrection. "No one should be surprised to see Democrats playing politics and to see them try to attack strong conservative leaders," he told a local Texas television station, in response to rumblings in Congress over censuring or even expelling him and Hawley over their role in fomenting the insurrection. "That's something Democrats have done for a long time. I do think it's really cynical for them to be trying to take advantage of what was a tragic event."
To be clear, neither Cruz nor Hawley seem all that disturbed by the fact that their purportedly responsible effort to simply debate — and okay, sure, maybe even overturn — a valid Biden victory dovetailed perfectly with the insurrectionists' own calls to do essentially the same thing, only with metal pipes and zip ties. Any similarities between their goals and the goals of the two lawmakers is purely coincidental, right? Nevermind that one added a patina of legitimacy to the other. Nope. Nothing to see here. Any suggestion to the contrary is "corrosive and dangerous," and you're the one tearing this country apart, not them.
Exhausting and frustrating as this may be, it's not unexpected. No matter how ironclad or longstanding Trump's personal grasp on the GOP may be, his influence is unmistakable. Republicans in recent years have seen just how effective it can be to simply refuse to even acknowledge any fault, and to instead levy any allegation made about you right back at the source. Trump may be a master at that, but in the hands of Hawley and Cruz — both of whom are legitimately smarter and more politically shrewd than Trump could ever hope to be — it's a tactic that seems likely to become a Republican hallmark for years to come.
Hawley and Cruz are sorry if you think they might share some blame in the recent coup attempt. But they're not sorry about actually doing it.