It sure looks as though Senator Josh Hawley is fundraising off the notorious image of him raising his fist to salute the mob of Trump supporters outside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, shortly before hundreds of them stormed the building, threatened his colleagues, and caused $1.5 million in damage. On his website, the Missouri Republican is hawking a $20 mug depicting the salute, described as the “perfect way to enjoy Coffee, Tea, or Liberal Tears!”
But on Tuesday, after criticism of his merchandising decision poured in, Hawley tried to correct any misconceptions about the meaning of the cup. “It is not a pro-riot mug,” he told HuffPost. Instead, Hawley claimed, as he has before, that he was only saluting those in the crowd who were there “peacefully to protest” — as if his broad gesture were actually an exclusive message to the mob’s most polite and law-abiding members, encouraging them to engage only in civil behavior while they sought to overturn the results of a presidential election.
Hawley has long tried to have his cake and eat it, too; see his lambasting of big tech from the pocket of big Thiel. But by fundraising off his solidarity with the rioters on January 6, he has encapsulated, in mug form, the approach many Republican lawmakers have taken toward the insurrection: selectively remembering, or making money from, the Capitol Riot by dismissing its violence and promoting the day as a legitimate uprising against Democratic overreach.
It’s too bad Hawley may not actually have the rights to the image: The Associated Press is looking into whether the senator properly licensed its work. Also, the merch may not have been made in the USA, as Hawley’s website claims, but in China.