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

Associated Press
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Orlando, Fla. – 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 that became the focus of the Jan. 6 siege on Capitol Hill by supporters of President Donald Trump 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.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020.

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. Concerns were also 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 Multiple donors have withdrawn financial support.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 defended himself in a newspaper column earlier this week, accusing the media and “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.”

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