More backlash for GOP’s Hawley as Loews Hotel cancels event

Politics

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Loews Hotels said Saturday it has canceled an upcoming fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, the latest fallout for the Republican lawmaker after the U.S. Capitol uprising.

The Republican senator from Missouri helped staged an Electoral College challenge the day President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol over baseless claims that Trump had won the November presidential vote.

“We are horrified and opposed to the events at the Capitol and all who supported and incited the actions,” according to a Twitter statement from the hotel. “In light of those events and for the safety of our guests and team members, we have informed the host of the Feb. fundraiser that it will no longer be held at Loews Hotels.”

The event had been scheduled for February at its Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, hosted by Hawley-affiliated political committee, Fighting for Missouri, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Hawley, who is facing waning support from longtime backers and donors, was the first senator to announce a challenge to the Electoral College results, and his challenge continued even after the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Concerns also were raised after a photo emerged of Hawley greeting protesters outside the Capitol with a raised fist, though that occurred before the mob overran the building.

Other than Trump himself, no politician has suffered the fallout as Hawley has. Multiple donors have withdrawn financial support. The Trump-opposing Lincoln Project said it would take out full-page newspaper ads calling out his remaining donors.

Hawley’s office released a statement Saturday declaring he was undeterred by the backlash.

“If these corporations don’t want conservatives to speak, they should just be honest about it. But to equate leading a debate on the floor of the Senate with inciting violence is a lie, and it’s dangerous. I will not be deterred from representing my constituents and I will not bow to left wing corporate pressure,” he said.

Earlier in the week, Hawley also defended himself in a newspaper column accusing the media and the “Washington establishment” of deceiving Americans into calling him an “insurrectionist.”

Meanwhile, former staffers of Claire McCaskill, the Democrat whom Hawley ousted to win the seat, were involved in launching a political action committee that began airing ads Friday blaming Hawley for inciting the crowd to riot, The Kansas City Star reports.

Megan Brengarth, who describes herself as a former organizer for McCaskill, is the treasurer of the new Just Oust Seditious Hacks PAC and a principal of the political consulting firm that organized the PAC. Other former staffers involved include Thomas Hatfield, who tweeted that he was “excited to be a part of this.”

On its website, the new PAC calls Hawley and other officials who backed baseless claims of voter fraud in the presidential election “traitors.”

McCaskill tweeted that she had no involvement with the PAC but encouraged people to donate, writing that their money “won’t be wasted.”

Hawley spokeswoman Kelli Ford dismissed the effort in a statement Friday, saying McCaskill and her team “will be as effective with this campaign as they were with the last.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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