Vice President Mike Pence flew to Springfield to stump for Missouri’s Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley Monday. Hawley delivered remarks before introducing Pence in front of roughly 200 people.
Hawley reiterated much of what he told reporters earlier Monday, focusing on the Supreme Court confirmation and what he called a Democratic smear campaign against nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh was confirmed by the narrowest margin in recent American history and was sworn in Saturday as a Supreme Court Justice. He was given a prime-time swearing in and ceremony Monday night at the White House by President Trump.
Hawley has sought to connect Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill directly to what he called a coordinated Democratic campaign to undermine Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women. A McCaskill spokesperson told Missourinet Monday that the Senator believes the confirmation process was deeply flawed.
The Republican candidate also repeated his claim that McCaskill and Democrats have been trying to overturn the 2016 election by opposing President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Trump won Missouri by 19 points.
Missouri’s sitting attorney general further drew attention to the pivotal role his race against McCaskill will have in determining the balance of power in the Senate. “This November, this year, the state of Missouri is going to decide the future direction of this country,” said Hawley. “That’s what we’re fighting for. That’s what is at stake. That is what matters, and that’s why this November we’re gonna make our voices heard, aren’t we?”
During his address, Pence touched on Hawley’s involvement in high profile lawsuits as attorney general. “He sued the biggest drug companies in the country to hold them accountable in the opioid crisis, and Josh Hawley even took on Google to make sure the company is protecting the privacy of the people of Missouri,” said Pence.
Hawley is suing three major opioid manufacturers – Pardue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals – for misrepresenting the addictive nature of their drugs. He also launched a probe into Google to determine whether it violated Missouri’s consumer protection and anti-trust laws by manipulating search results at the expense of competitors. Hawley’s motivation in the Google suit have been questioned. He received $300,000 in contributions from Google critic and Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel, who contends the internet giant is a monopoly.
Pence stated he was only in Missouri “for one reason only”, saying Missouri and America need Josh Hawley in the United States Senate. He touched on Hawley’s legal credentials, noting the candidate clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts but spent much of the rest of his 30 minutes presentation focusing on the accomplishments of the Trump administration.
Among other things, Pence touted the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA trade deal forged last week as well as the 3.7 percent unemployment rates announced Friday. “We started out on Monday with the largest new trade deal in American history, the middle of the week, we set a 50-year record for low unemployment,” Pence said.
The Vice President also took time to praise the character of newly confirmed Justice Kavanaugh. “He’s a man of great intellect, he’s a man of integrity,” said Pence. “He’s a principal jurist who showed personal courage in the course of this extraordinary confirmation process.”
Pence took a shot at Hawley’s opponent in front of a crowd favorable to Republican and conservative priorities. He said Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill likes to think of herself as a moderate, but her voting record resembles that of Bernie Sanders. Sanders lost the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton.
Pence appeared with Hawley at the Oasis Convention Center in Springfield. President Trump appeared at a much larger rally in Springfield last month before nearly 11,000 people at the JQH Arena. Trump’s visit was also meant to pump up Hawley’s campaign.
(Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV contributed to this report)