On Monday night, a leftist mob with Shut Down D.C. marched to Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) house in Washington, D.C. They carried signs opposing Hawley’s effort to block the counting of Electoral College votes on Wednesday, shouted into a megaphone at his front door, and placed signs at his front door.
The target of the mob’s rage wasn’t even there. Hawley later explained that he was in Arkansas, but the mob succeeded in harassing his wife and his newborn daughter.
“Tonight while I was in Missouri, Antifa scumbags came to our place in DC and threatened my wife and newborn daughter, who can’t travel,” Hawley explained on Twitter. “They screamed threats, vandalized, and tried to pound open our door. Let me be clear: My family & I will not be intimidated by leftwing violence.”
Shut Down D.C. organized the harassment as a “vigil,” supposedly for democracy. The organization explained that the mob targeted Hawley because he “was the first of 12 Republican senators who pledged to join more than 100 Republican House members in their plan to derail Congress’ acceptance of Joe Biden’s election win on January 6.”
The leftist group bragged about harassing Hawley’s family and “delivering” a copy of the Constitution to his door. The mob chanted, “Shame! Shame on Hawley!” and “Protect democracy from the GOP.”
“Now ‘vigil’ means screaming threats through bullhorns, vandalizing property, pounding on the doors of homes and terrorizing innocent people and children,” Hawley responded.
“We’re not going to let these bastards, racists, and ignorant people come into our town and come into our community,” one leader shouted into a megaphone.
At one point, Hawley’s wife came out the front door, asking the mob to stop shouting for the sake of the neighbors and her newborn baby. “We need a future for your baby,” the mob responded.
“Why are you disturbing our neighborhood and scaring our kids?” one neighbor demanded.
This was no candlelight vigil, this was an attempt to terrorize @HawleyMO’s family, his wife & kids, and neighbors, you made that very clear.
— Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) January 5, 2021
Over at American Greatness, David Reaboi and Kyle Shideler revealed the history of Shut Down D.C., which is connected to antifa groups and whose leaders have worked in left-wing activist groups. Liz Butler, who played a role in organizing protests against George W. Bush’s inauguration in 2001 and protests against the IMF in 2002, helped lead the group, as did Patrick Young, a former SEIU employee who now works for the Teamsters.
I oppose Hawley’s effort to block the counting of Electoral College votes because, as Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) pointed out, it is unlikely that the election irregularities in 2020 — which the legacy media shamefully ignores — gave the election to Joe Biden, and President Donald Trump has been unable to prove it in court. As Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) pointed out, blocking the Electoral College vote counting will only embolden Democratic attacks on the Constitution.
None of that means the American people made the right decision in electing Joe Biden — I believe it was a disastrous decision. However, the voters in the states decide the president, not Congress. If Congress overrides the states’ certification of the Electoral College votes, that will set a dangerous precedent.
None of that justifies harassing Hawley’s wife, his newborn daughter, and his neighbors in the middle of the night. The mob was wrong to harass House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at their homes in California and Kentucky, as well.
Americans should be able to disagree with one another civilly, without targeting the homes of public officials. When mobs target homes, they may disturb the official in question, but they also unjustly harass that person’s family and that person’s neighbors. Such harassment serves as a chilling testament to the erosion of American norms amid the country’s worsening partisanship.
Yet the mob’s justification for harassing a newborn baby may be the most horrifying aspect of this episode. When Hawley’s wife came out to protest the bullhorns, members of the mob shouted back that they know what Hawley’s newborn daughter needs better than her own mother. Pleas for peace and quiet met with loud declarations that this “protest” is ultimately for the baby’s own good. How disgusting — and how revealing.
Members of the mob truly believe that they are in the right, not just to oppose Hawley’s action but to harass his family over it.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.