The Corner

Politics & Policy

Senator Hawley Defends Himself

His self-defense sticks with the strategy that he was following before and on January 6 (and which I’ve criticized here). He doesn’t say that Biden stole the election; he doesn’t say that Biden won the election fairly. He doesn’t spread baseless conspiracy theories about voting machines, or deny them, or acknowledge their existence. He talks instead about whether Pennsylvania election law was changed the correct way. Trump’s weeks of lies about the election and attempts to overturn it are also out of frame; the name Trump does not appear in the article. Hawley explains that he was just trying to speak up for Missouri voters who were deeply concerned about the sanctity of Pennsylvania’s state constitution.

To buy his defense, you just have to studiously ignore the context that made Hawley’s campaign so damaging and made it politically enticing for him to wage in the first place.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.