Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley appeared on Meet The Press Sunday where he said the election would be based on the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation. Hawley reiterated his claim that Democrats launched a smear campaign against nominee Brett Kavanaugh and said Missouri voters would be motivated by the proceedings.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation was complicated by several accusations of sexual misconduct against him dating back to his high school and college days. The now sitting associate justice subsequently gave a politically-charged testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
Hawley said there is a presence of mob behavior around the country in the aftermath of Kavanaugh’s confirmation that is motivating Missouri voters who disapprove of the conduct. He also stated his opponent, incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, was responsible for the spiraling costs of healthcare which he pegged at 145%.
“I’ve had family after family in this state come up to me and say, ‘Look we can’t afford our health insurance. We’re having to get a second job, send a spouse back to work.’ It shouldn’t have to be that way,” said Hawley. “It is that way because of Senator McCaskill.”
Hawley said that as a Senator he’d vote to repeal and replace “Obamacare” with a mandate to preserve coverage for preexisting conditions. Meet The Press moderator Chuck Todd noted that Hawley, as Missouri Attorney General, has joined a lawsuit to overturn the current Affordable Care Act health care law, which would include the discontinuation of coverage for preexisting conditions.
Hawley has said numerous times that he still favors preserving preexisting conditions, often mentioning that one of his children suffers from one. His son Elijah has a degenerative bone disease affecting his hip. The candidate told Todd he thinks it would be constitutional for Congress to pass a requirement that preexisting conditions be covered.
“Absolutely, I do,” Hawley said. “What’s not constitutional is the requirement that people buy health insurance they don’t want. But it’s absolutely constitutional to say that insurers have to cover people with preexisting conditions. Congress should mandate it.”
The GOP-led Congress repealed the requirement to purchase health insurance as part of a massive tax overhaul package it approved in late 2017. The repeal of the individual mandate provided more than $300 billion in savings for Republicans to use to help pay for the tax bill. Previously, individuals were required to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty.
Moderator Todd then played a clip of Hawley’s 2016 ad claiming he wouldn’t climb a ladder as other politicians have to a higher office. He asked Hawley, who’s running for the Senate two years after being elected state Attorney General, what he would now say to himself. Hawley said it was his calling to seek the office in a fight against those with a differing agenda, including efforts to block Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
“You could see it with the hearings of Justice Kavanaugh,” said Hawley. “You can see it with what we’re seeing out on the streets now. The future of this country and our way of life here is at stake. And it’s incumbent on all of us to do all that we can. I’m trying to do my part to make sure that we fight for the future of this country and fight for Missouri. Claire McCaskill has not, but I will.”
At 3:47, Hawley’s appearance was the shortest interview Sunday on Meet The Press. Todd spent noticeably more time with Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams and largely focused the program on missing Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Hawley and McCaskill are locked in a razor-tight race for the Senate seat McCaskill has occupied for two six-year terms. All polls have indicated the two are in a statistical tie leading up to the election November 6th.
Separately, several Democrats are holding a press conference Monday to address Hawley’s recent action as Missouri’s Attorney General to appeal a court decision last week that struck down key elements of a 2016 state voter ID law. Congressman Lacy Clay, State Senator Gina Walsh of Bellefontaine Neighbors and State Senator-elect Brian Williams contend the ruling clarified “contradictory and misleading” components of the law.
Missouri’s Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who based his 2016 election campaign on the voter ID law, publicly thanked Hawley’s office for working quickly to file an appeal and emergency stay of the circuit court judge’s decision to the state Supreme Court. The high bench is now considering the action.
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