‘Coward’ Josh Hawley mocked by Senate rival for fleeing Capitol mob he incited

Announcing a run for US Senate in 2024, the populist Missouri Democrat Lucas Kunce released an ad focusing on how his prospective opponent, the Republican senator Josh Hawley, ran from the mob he encouraged on the day the US Capitol came under attack.

“I’ve done a lot of running in my life,” Kunce said, over footage of a man in a ripped suit running on a country road, dropping a US flag pin.

“Running to stay healthy, running to fight for my country, running to defend democracy. And by the way, that guy you’re looking at, that’s not me. That’s our current US senator, Josh Hawley. This guy.”

The ad then showed a famous picture from 6 January 2021, of Hawley raising a fist to Trump supporters outside the Capitol, a picture Hawley has used for fundraising purposes.

Kunce said: “Or maybe you better recognise him running for his life a few hours later.”

Last July, the House January 6 committee released security footage of Hawley running from supporters of Donald Trump after they breached the Capitol, looking for lawmakers to capture and possibly kill in a riot now linked to nine deaths, including law enforcement suicides.

The footage of Hawley went viral, in many cases scored to satirical music.

Nonetheless, Hawley is widely seen as a likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Accordingly, he is due to release a book this year.

According to promotional material, Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs, will argue “that the character of men and the male virtue that goes along with it is a necessary ingredient to a functioning society and a healthy, free republic”.

Kunce said: “I swear this coward is always running from something and now this is the guy who’s writing a book telling every single one of us how to be a man.”

Footage shows Josh Hawley running from Capitol riot.
Footage shows Josh Hawley running from Capitol riot. Photograph: Reuters/House of Representives

A former US marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Kunce, 40, also worked on international arms control. He has already mounted a Senate run, last year, losing the primary to Trudy Busch Valentine, a brewing heiress who went on to lose to Eric Schmitt, a former state attorney general.

A Hawley spokesman told news outlets: “We welcome this desperate woke activist to yet another political race. He just barely finished losing his last one. Maybe he’s running in the wrong state.”

Signing off the ad, Kunce said: “Josh Hawley is a fraud and a coward and by the time I’m done with him, the whole world’s gonna know it. So keep on running, Josh. Keep on running.”

Released on the second anniversary of the January 6 attack, the ad was widely noted for its combative tone.

Lis Smith, a Democratic consultant who ran Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign in 2020, said Kunce “takes a metaphorical bat to coward Josh Hawley in his first ad”.

Hawley, Smith said, “should never able to live down how he helped stoke the crowd on January 6 then sprinted away as they stormed the Capitol”.


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