Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate seldom agree on much these days, but recently, a wide range of senators voted in favor of an anti-hate crimes bill — that is, everyone except Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri. And the Kansas City Star's editorial board, in a scathing editorial, slams the Republican senator for his vote.
"Sen. Josh Hawley, last seen encouraging a riot at the U.S. Capitol, now thinks America is too tough on hate crimes," the Star's editorial board writes. "That's the only logical conclusion one can draw from Hawley's vote . . . against a bill designed to limit assaults and murders based on ethnic hate, including hate of Asian-Americans."
Five U.S. senators were absent during the vote on the anti-hate crimes bill, which was introduced by Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. Of the 95 senators who did vote on the bill, 94 of them voted "yes."
Explaining his reason for voting against the bill, Hawley said, "It's too broad. As a former prosecutor, my view is it's dangerous to simply give the federal government open-ended authority to define a whole new class of federal hate crime incidents."
The Star's editorial board takes issue with that statement, writing, "Hawley, who had just been elected Missouri's attorney general when he started running for the U.S. Senate, is not even right about being a former prosecutor, though the AG's office does have certain prosecutorial powers. And the law does not give the government 'open-ended authority.' Here's what it says: 'The United States condemns and denounces any and all anti-Asian and Pacific Islander sentiment in any form.' That's a welcome and needed response to increasing cases of violence against Asian-Americans, including a deadly shooting in Georgia."
The Star's editorial board argues that Hawley, with his "no" vote, was once again pandering to extremists in the Republican Party.
"Saying the measure is too broad makes no sense, except in the context of his ongoing attempts to set himself apart as the most extreme on any issue," the Star's editorial board says. "His unquenchable thirst for Fox News appearances and fundraising cash continues to make this country unsafe, whether it's from a gang of rioters pushing through the Capitol's windows or from some lone gunman feverishly surfing the internet for anti-Semitic, or anti-Asian, or anti-Black, or anti-American messages."