Erin Hawley, who is married to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), has detailed the “frightening” night when a band of protestors “terrorized” her and her newborn baby at home in what was described by the agitators as a peaceful candlelight vigil. Hawley said the night-time residential picketing had crossed the line of being protected by the First Amendment.
“The assault on our home, followed by weeks of personal attacks on our family, are not civil discourse,” Hawley wrote in an op-ed for Fox News, the first time she has spoken at length about what happened at her Virginia home the evening of Jan. 4.
According to Hawley, she was home alone with her then seven-week-old daughter when the sound of “angry voices” overwhelmed the TV program she was watching in her basement. She said she walked upstairs to find approximately 20 protestors standing in front of her house, shouting through bullhorns.
“I stepped outside, baby in arms, and asked them to leave, saying we had a newborn and neighbors,” Hawley wrote. The protesters refused.
Hawley then went back inside to the basement.
Shortly after, she wrote, “I heard yelling and pounding and came back upstairs to see at least three large men at my door blocking my entire front porch and shouting ‘Come out, come out’ into their bullhorns,” the mother of three recalled, adding that she was thankful that her two young sons were home in Missouri with their dad that night, because they “would have been terrified.”
It took 15 minutes for the police to arrive and the protesters remained in the neighborhood for another half of an hour after that. She said the protesters had littered the front lawn with signs and graffitied the sidewalk in front of her house. They had also threatened to “return morning, noon, and night.”
“You can agree or disagree with my husband’s politics,” Hawley wrote. “And protests at office buildings are both appropriate and protected by the First Amendment. But the First Amendment also allows states and local governments to protect their citizens from harassment and to prescribe reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on protest-like events.”
The op-ed comes about a week after Hawley filed a criminal complaint against Patrick Young, an activist and member of the group ShutDownDC that organized the Jan. 4 protest.
In an interview with ABC News, Young dismissed the lawsuit as “a rich and powerful person” harassing “a normal person.”
The incident prompted Josh Hawley to condemn “Antifa scumbags” for threatening his family while he was in Missouri. “Let me be clear: My family & I will not be intimidated by leftwing violence,” he wrote on Twitter.
Hawley was one of the dozen Senate Republicans who vowed to not sign off on Electoral College votes from states battling election integrity challenges without an “emergency 10-day audit of the election returns.”
Only six senators, including Hawley and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), eventually cast objections following the violence that unfolded at the Capitol on Jan. 6.