Shortly after Cruz challenged Arizona’s results on Wednesday afternoon, the rioters overtook the Capitol building, forcing Congress to halt the certification process of the 2020 election. The riots left several people dead, including a woman who was shot and killed by U.S. Capitol Police. Later in the evening, after the Senate reconvened, Hawley objected to Pennsylvania’s results.
Since the insurrection, Cruz and Hawley are facing a backlash from their colleagues, who are accusing them of inciting violence by casting doubt on the results of the 2020 election. Hawley and Cruz have both condemned Wednesday’s violent act. On Thursday morning, Cruz said the Justice Department should “vigorously prosecute” all of those involved and called for a peaceful transfer of power.
A spokesperson for Hawley did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Cruz, in an interview with KTRK, dismissed Democratic calls for his resignation.
“No one should be surprised to be seeing Democrats playing politics and to see them attacking and trying to attack strong conservative leaders,” Cruz said. “I do think it’s really cynical for them to be trying to take advantage of what was a tragic event that occurred yesterday in Washington.”
Coons is not the only Democratic lawmaker to call for the senators’ resignations. Earlier Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also said Cruz and Hawley should resign and that the Senate should expel the senators if they refuse.
“Sen. Cruz, you must accept responsibility for how your craven, self-serving actions contributed to the deaths of four people yesterday,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “And how you fundraised off this riot.”
Cruz and Hawley aren’t just receiving criticism from Democrats. Former Republican Sen. John Danforth told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that supporting Hawley’s 2018 Senate campaign was the “was the worst mistake I ever made in my life.” And Simon and Schuster also announced that it would cancel the publication of his forthcoming book.
Both senators are widely viewed as potential 2024 contenders.