"That’s not how this world works": Josh Hawley gets schooled on the Senate floor

“[Hawley] voted ‘no’ on Ukraine aid, and now he has the gall to say it’s going too slow,” Sen. Brian Schatz said

By Jon Skolnik

Published April 8, 2022 11:52AM (EDT)

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., attends a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on pending nominations in Dirksen Building on Thursday, February 17, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., attends a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on pending nominations in Dirksen Building on Thursday, February 17, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, tore into Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Thursday for blocking the confirmation of a number of Defense Department staffers, accusing the conservative lawmaker of "damaging the department."

"This comes from a guy who raised his fist in solidarity with the [Capitol riot] insurrectionists," Schatz said during a fiery Senate floor speech. "This comes from a guy who, before the Russian invasion, suggested that maybe it would be wise for [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy] to make a few concessions for Ukraine and their willingness to join NATO."

"[Hawley] voted 'no' on Ukraine aid, and now he has the gall to say it's going too slow," Schatz added. 

Over the past several months, Hawley has repeatedly claimed that he will not back down from his crusade unless Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken resign from their postings. 

Schatz called this request "preposterous."

"That's not a serious request!" the Democrat raged. "That's not how this world works. That is not a reasonable request from a United States senator."

RELATED: "Evil" Josh Hawley hit with bipartisan pushback after call to drop U.S. support for Ukraine NATO bid

Among the officials stonewalled by Hawley were Celeste Wallander, an expert on Russia relations who has argued the U.S. was slow to respond to the country's invasion of Ukraine; David Honey, a research and and development expert, and Melissa Dalton, who now serves as the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and Americas' security affairs.

Wallander and Honey were officially confirmed in February after Democrats managed to circumvent Hawley's logjam by filing a cloture motion to hasten the debate and bring the nominations to the full Senate floor, according to Politico. Dalton was likewise confirmed in March.


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Still, a number of officials have yet to be confirmed, with Hawley claiming he is slow-walking them over the apparent slowness with which President Biden supplied humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine 

"What accountability has there been in this time? Who has been relieved of duty? Who has been shown the door? What have we learned?" Hawley asked during a Senate floor speech last month. "The answer is there's been no accountability.

At the same time, the Missouri senator has adamantly opposed the notion of Ukraine's membership in NATO, claiming that "it is not clear that Ukraine's accession would serve U.S. interests." He also voted against Biden's omnibus spending package to supply Ukraine with aid, calling it one of the "Democrats' pet projects."

RELATED: The Putin caucus undermines Biden at home — while Americans risk their lives in Ukrain


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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Brian Schatz Brief Department Of Defense Dod Gop Obstruction Josh Hawley