WASHINGTON — The political roar against Missouri Senator Josh Hawley is growing after protests turned into riots at the U.S. Capitol this week.
The latest is a new attack ad from The Lincoln Project, a political action committee made up of Republicans and former Republicans with a mission to “defeat Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box,” the group's website states.
“What we know for sure is that @HawleyMO would rather rule in a dictatorship than serve in a democracy. His #Sedition will not be forgotten or forgiven,” The Lincoln Project wrote on Twitter late Thursday night with the new video.
The ad accuses Hawley of being part of a seditious plot. There’s been a lot of talk about the word "sedition" after violent pro-President Trump activists breached security at the Capitol Wednesday. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sedition as “incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority.”
VERIFY: What does sedition mean?
Hawley was the first senator to say he would object to the certification of the Electoral College votes in some states, echoing claims by Trump of election fraud in November. Even after agitators stormed the Capitol, forced a lockdown and sent lawmakers running to safety, Hawley stood by his decision to object.
“Overturning a free and fair election to keep a defeated president in office illegally? That looks really bad senator,” the voiceover on The Lincoln Project ad states.
The ad ends with a pointed message: “You shouldn’t be a U.S. senator; you should be in jail.”
5 On Your Side has contacted Hawley’s press office for comment about the ad. We’ve also requested an interview with Missouri's senator. We have not heard back.
In a statement emailed Thursday afternoon, Hawley said he would never apologize for what he described as doing his job.
“I will never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections. That’s my job, and I will keep doing it,” the statement said.
Fallout continued Thursday, with publisher Simon & Schuster announcing it would cancel the publication of Hawley’s upcoming book.
Commentators and representatives in the political world, lawmakers in Congress and even the Student Bar Association of Mizzou Law released statements calling for Hawley to resign.
An online petition calling for the senator to be removed from office garnered more than 20,000 signatures before it was removed from MoveOn.org without explanation Thursday evening.
READ MORE: Can Senator Josh Hawley be recalled?
Former Hawley supporters are also speaking out.
Missouri businessman David Humphreys, who donated more than $1 million to help Hawley get elected, said the senator should be censured for “provoking” the riots in the Capitol.
“Hawley’s irresponsible, inflammatory, and dangerous tactics have incited violence and further discord across America. And he has now revealed himself as a political opportunist willing to subvert the Constitution and the ideals of the nation he swore to uphold,” Humphreys said in a statement.
And former Missouri Sen. John Danforth, who served as Hawley’s political mentor, told the Associated Press that “supporting Josh Hawley … was the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life.”
“He has consciously appealed to the worst. He has attempted to drive us apart and he has undermined public belief in our democracy. And that’s great damage,” Danforth continued.
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