Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) declared that he “will not be intimidated” after he said a group of Antifa members threatened his family in their Virginia home late on Jan. 4.
“Tonight, while I was in Missouri, Antifa scumbags came to our place in DC and threatened my wife and newborn daughter, who can’t travel. They screamed threats, vandalized, and tried to pound open our door. Let me be clear: My family & I will not be intimidated by leftwing violence,” he wrote on Twitter late on Jan. 4.
Hawley recently made headlines after he became the first senator to publicly announce that he would object during the Electoral College certification process on Jan. 6.
A group called ShutDownDC, which is affiliated with the far-left Antifa network, posted a video on Twitter on Jan. 4 that showed a group of people walking to the front of Hawley’s house in the northern suburbs of Virginia bordering the District of Columbia, and for about an hour held signs and carried candles while shouting anti-Hawley slogans through loudspeakers.
“Surprise! We’re at Josh Hawley’s house holding a vigil for democracy #SeditionCaucus #VotersDecided #J6,” the post reads.
The group later issued a statement on its website confirming that the activists went to Hawley’s house because he took a stance against the electoral vote process scheduled to take place during a joint session in Congress on Jan. 6.
In the statement, ShutDownDC characterized Hawley’s intention to object to the Electoral College votes—which is joined by 12 other Republican senators and an anticipated 140 Republican House members—as a “plan to derail Congress’ acceptance of Joe Biden’s election win on January 6.”
ShutDownDC organizer Patrick Young asserted in a statement that Hawley is “trying to silence” voices of voters, and claimed that “bulk of the votes they would throw out come from Black and brown voters.” He further claims that Hawley’s stance signifies “an attempted coup waged by silencing the voices of people of color.”
Hawley issued a separate Twitter post in response to ShutDownDC’s self-described vigil. “Now ‘vigil’ means screaming threats through bullhorns, vandalizing property, pounding on the doors of homes, and terrorizing innocent people and children.”
A later statement from Young said, “This was not threatening behavior. This is people engaging in democracy and engaging in civil discourse. … This was a pretty tame and peaceful visit to his house.”
Master Police Officer Juan Vazquez, a spokesman for the Town of Vienna Police Department, said in a statement to media outlets that responding officers found that the “people were peaceful.” They were called to the home after someone reported that there were “people protesting in front of the house.”
According to The Washington Post, Vienna police said they did not see pounding on doors, did not hear threats, nor see any vandalism other than chalk on the sidewalk. There was also no formal complaint from the Hawleys as of Tuesday afternoon.
“Officers are only allowed to put in the report what they see,” Vasquez said, reported the outlet. “We can’t get warrants on something we didn’t see. If someone wants to make a complaint, they’re more than welcome to file a police report.”
Vasquez added that police found three potential violations upon arriving at the scene and advised those present about them, after which the group left within 10 minutes. He noted that it is a misdemeanor under Virginia to protest outside a private residence. Protesters also violated the Vienna town code for noise and litter.
Hawley later criticized The Washington Post for its report on the incident, writing on Twitter, “[The Washington Post] this morning printing outright lies from the Antifa group who now describe themselves as sweet angels. BS. You screamed through bullhorns, shouted down my wife when she asked you to leave, vandalized property, pounded on our door, and terrorized neighbors.”
“And didn’t have the guts to do it in daylight, but only under cover of darkness so you could hide. You’re scum. And we won’t be intimidated,” he added.
According to a statement from Hawley’s office via KMOV, the ShutDownDC group refused to leave before police arrived. The statement said that “in fact, when Erin, Josh’s wife, asked them to leave they instead screamed threats through blow horns at Erin, a newborn baby and their neighbors., and then they followed up by stepping onto their porch to pound on the front door and peer inside.”
According to KMOV, Young said, “we certainly don’t want to do anything to intimidate the senator’s family and we understand people are concerned about having political activity at their homes. We are in the middle of a pandemic most people are not working from offices. [P]eople are working from home. So if we want to talk to powerful people we need to go to where we think they are going to be.”
In response to the statements, Hawley wrote on Twitter, “Antifa scumbags changing their tune now that everyone has seen the video of them screaming at my wife, pounding on our door, harassing neighbors, and trying to intimidate.”
The governors in the contested states had certified electors who cast their electoral votes for former vice president and presidential candidate Biden, a Democrat. But on Dec. 14, 2020, Republican electors in those six states and New Mexico cast alternative slates of Electoral College votes for President Donald Trump, setting up a “dueling electors” scenario not seen in U.S. elections for decades.
Objections during the joint session on Jan. 6 must be made in writing by at least one House member and one senator to sustain a challenge. If the objection for any state meets this requirement, the joint session pauses and each house withdraws to its own chamber to debate the question for a maximum of two hours. The House and the Senate then vote separately to accept or reject the objection, which requires a majority vote from both chambers.
Biden has declared victory in the November 2020 election. Trump and other Republicans have since been contesting election results in battleground states—namely Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada—alleging that election fraud and irregularities took place on a large scale that swung the results to favor Biden.
The Epoch Times isn’t calling the presidential race at this time. The Epoch Times has published an investigative documentary on election integrity in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, outlining the allegations of election fraud and observed anomalies that have been reported in the contested states.
The ShutDownDC group also said in its statement that it has called on hotels in Washington to “close their doors” to people who plan to go to the nation’s capital on Jan. 6 for a protest to call for election integrity. ShutDownDC claims that “many of these supporters” of the president may bring “violence and destruction.”
Trump has called on Americans to join in the planned protest, which is expected to be attended by hundreds of thousands of people. Car caravans have been forming in preparation for what many have been saying will be a historic protest.
Janita Kan contributed to this report.
This article has been updated with further details and comments from involved parties.