Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat who represents Hawaii, slammed Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley for trying to hold up Pentagon nominations, saying he is "damaging the Department of Defense."
Schatz, recalling the now infamous photo showing Hawley raising his fist to former President Donald Trump's supporters on the day they attacked the United States Capitol, referred to Hawley as "a guy who raised his fist in solidarity with the insurrectionists."
Hawley has in recent months created a logjam in the Senate by objecting to the speedy approval of Defense Department nominees over the Trump administration's planned withdrawal from Afghanistan. As with most problems inherited from the Trump administration, the GOP blamed the troop withdrawal on Democratic President Joe Biden.
You can hear Schatz's remarks in the video below.
"And this comes from a guy who, before the Russian invasion, suggested that maybe it would be wise for Zelensky to make a few concessions about Ukraine and their willingness to join NATO."
"This comes from a guy who just about a month ago voted against Ukraine aid! He’s saying it’s going too slow? He voted 'no' — he voted 'no' on Ukraine aid and now he has the gall to say it’s going too slow!"
Schatz's remarks were a reference to Hawley's vocal criticisms of President Joe Biden for not sending enough aid to Ukraine despite previously voting against an aid package to help the country shore up its defenses against Russian forces.
Hawley had called on Biden to drop his support for Ukraine eventually joining The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), arguing that to do would only leave the United States "more embroiled in European conflicts."
Schatz noted that Hawley "exonerated Donald Trump for extorting Zelensky for withholding lethal aid," referring to the circumstances behind former President Trump's first impeachment, which was initiated in part because he'd encouraged Ukrainian leadership to investigate then-candidate Biden for “political dirt” he could wield against his opponent.
Hawley was among the most vocal of the Republicans who ultimately acquitted Trump in the Senate in early 2020 following a highly contentious trial, and Trump touted the acquittal as a sign of his innocence in the matter, which he has claimed, without evidence, was a Democratic plot to topple his presidency.
Schatz condemned Hawley's actions, telling him to "spare me the new solidarity with the Ukrainians and with the free world because this man’s record is exactly the opposite."
Many have praised Schatz for speaking out and further criticized Hawley
Hawley has continued to obfuscate the role he played ahead of the January 6 insurrection.
Hawley was the first Senator to object to the certification of President Joe Biden's electoral win.
While he has since claimed he doesn't agree with former President Trump's lie that the 2020 general election was fraudulent, he has issued contradictory and unrepentant statements likening the left to a "woke mob."