"Terrorists" Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley should be on no-fly list, House homeland security chair says

“There’s no exemption for being put on the no-fly list,” said Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson

By Jon Skolnik

Staff Writer

Published January 12, 2021 2:45PM (EST)

Josh Hawley, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Josh Hawley, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-MS, suggested that, if found liable for inciting the violent unrest at the Capitol last week, Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX, and Josh Hawley, R-MO, could be put on a no-fly list. 

Cruz and Hawley, who were arguably the most vocal congressional opponents of Biden's electoral victory, have faced a tidal wave of condemnation from Democrats and some Republicans following last week's chaos on Capitol Hill. Calls for Hawley and Cruz to be censured and even expelled have surfaced in the House, placing the two Senators on thin ice with their Congressional foes and allies alike. 

Rep. Bennie Thompson –– the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee ––  joined the chorus of condemnation on Monday in a SiriusXM interview, pointing out that, if found guilty of encouraging last week's uprising, Hawley and Cruz should be formally ousted from government. 

"Even a member of Congress that commits a crime…they expel from the body," the Congressman explained, "There are ethics charges that can be brought against those individuals. And people are looking at all this. What Hawley did and what Cruz did was horrible."

Regarding the rioters, Thompson thought there was "no question" about whether they should be labeled as terrorists. "These folks, in my opinion, can be classified as domestic terrorists," he said, "A terrorist is a terrorist, no matter who you are." 

Thompson also outlined the "protocols" in place to work jointly with the TSA and the FBI –– whom he urged into action last Thursday –– on identifying high-risk individuals and barring them from air travel. Several airlines have already begun imposing lifetime travel bans on participants of the violent mob. According to ABC News, United Airlines banned sixty participants last week, while Alaska Airlines has banned fourteen. 

The Congressman also revealed that the Congressional Black Caucus –– of which he is a key member –– is set to hold its own investigation of the weak police presence and response at the Capitol.

"Somebody's going to have to tell us why it occurred," he demanded, "Other than the fact that there white people involved and you treat white protesters with kid gloves, and black and white protesters you threw the full faith and power of the government on them to suppress them. It ought to be one policy."

"There's suspicion that some of the sympathizers were also employees of the Capitol Police," the Congressman added, alluding to the officers seen letting rioters simply waltz into the Capitol and even taking selfies with them. In a separate probe from the CBC's, two Capitol Police officers have already been suspended, and over ten officers, according to CNN, are currently being investigated. 

Thompson has been steadfast in his commitment to punish everyone responsible for the insurrection, making no exception for elected officials. One Twitter user criticized him for publicly indicting Cruz and Hawley, saying he should be "ashamed." Thompson rebutted, "I am not ashamed. However, they should be."

Expelling Senators Cruz and Hawley would require a two-thirds vote in the upper chamber of Congress, and is therefore unlikely, given the GOP's penchant for unconditional tribalism, even in the face of complete moral bankruptcy. However, a censure –– which necessitates just a majority vote in the Senate –– is much more likely since the Democrats managed to eke out a newly won Senate majority following the Georgia State runoffs.

By Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, and The New York Daily News.

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