Democrats need to make more noise when taking on Republicans, a US senator says, after angry remarks in the Senate in which he blasted Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley for delaying Pentagon nominations and voting against the aid to Ukraine, among other trouble spots.
“Democrats need to make more noise,” Brian Schatz of Hawaii told The Washington Post. “We must shout from the rooftops, because this is a battle for the free world now.”
Schatz made waves with his remarks in the Senate on Thursday. His immediate topic was Hawley’s decision to suspend Biden’s nominees, including one for a leadership position at the Pentagon.
“He’s hurting the Department of Defense,” Schatz said. “We have senior DoD leaders, we have the armed services committee coming to us and saying, ‘I don’t know what to tell him. I don’t know how to satisfy him, but he is blocking the staffing of senior management in the Ministry of Defence’”.
Referring to a famous photo of Hawley on Capitol Hill on the day of the Jan. 6, 2021, bombing, which the senator used for fundraising efforts, Schatz said, “It’s from a guy who raised his fist in solidarity with the insurgents”.
Then he returned to his theme.
“It’s from a guy who, before the Russian invasion, suggested it might be wise to [Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy] make some concessions on Ukraine and its desire to join NATO.
“This is from a guy who just a month ago voted against aid to Ukraine. He’s [now] say it’s going too slow. He voted no. He voted no on aid to Ukraine. And now he has the nerve to say it’s going too slow.
Hawley said he would lift his reservations if Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin resigns following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Calling it “the final insult,” Schatz said, “That’s not a serious request. People came to me all the time under the Trump administration. ‘Do you think Trump should resign? [former secretary of state Rex] Should Tillerson resign? It’s stupid.
“Of course I think all the people I disagree with should quit their jobs and be replaced by people I like. Of course I think they should all quit. That’s not not how this world works. It’s not a reasonable request from a US senator, that until the Secretary of Defense leaves office, I’m going to block all of his candidates. That’s absurd.
In February, Hawley linked his grips — which can be overcome, albeit slowly, through Senate procedure — to Biden’s alleged failure to stop the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“If you think that Vladimir Putin and other dictators around the world have not been emboldened by the weakness of this administration,” he said, “by their utter failure in Afghanistan, then you have something else to come. .”
In his remarks, Schatz returned to Ukraine, pointing out that Hawley was among the Republicans who, during Trump’s first impeachment, voted to acquit him for refusing military aid to kyiv in an effort to extract political dirt on the Bidens.
“So spare me the newfound solidarity with Ukrainians and with the free world because this man’s record is the exact opposite,” Schatz said.
The senator was speaking in a midterm election year, seven months from Election Day and with Republicans favored to take over the House and possibly the Senate. Speaking to the Post, he said he wanted voters to take notice of his attack on Hawley.
“The central selling proposition for many moderate voters was that they could put Biden in place and then stop caring about politics,” Schatz said, adding that despite this, noise about the “Maga movement continues to grow.” .
“Voters who pay normal attention to our politics are inspired by elected officials to know how outrageous something is,” Schatz said.
“While we don’t seem particularly upset,” he added, situations like Hawley’s obstruction may seem “unimportant.”