Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz slams Josh Hawley for ‘solidarity with insurrectionists’ after he blocks vote on Defense Department nominee

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz laid into Senator Josh Hawley for “punishing” American service members and US allies by blocking President Joe Biden’s nominee for the Pentagon’s top civilian logistics post, suggesting the Missouri Republican had no right to do so because of his support for rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Mr Schatz, a member of the Senate’s defense appropriations subcommittee, spoke on the upper chamber’s floor on Thursday in support of Christopher Lowman, Mr Biden’s pick to serve as Assistant Defense Secretary for Sustainment.

He said Mr Lowman is needed in his post because of the importance of logistical support to the Biden administration’s efforts to aid Ukraine’s defense against Russia.

“Any US mission also needs a strong logistics chain. That means being able to move troops, medical supplies, fuel, tents, anything else throughout the world at any given time. And this is no longer an abstraction,” Mr Schatz said. “We have seen what happens when it isn’t in place. We are seeing it in real time with Russia’s equipment and training problems in Ukraine”.

The Hawaii Democrat noted that Mr Hawley, a first-term senator who is considered a 2024 presidential hopeful by many observers, has made a habit of blocking Mr Biden’s defense department nominees because he wants Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to resign over the US exit from Afghanistan .

When he tried to call up the nomination for consideration on the Senate floor, Mr Hawley objected, and went on a long diatribe about what he described as the US “failure” in Ukraine and Mr Biden accused of denying Mr Zelensky’s government “lethal aid” and emboldening Russian President Vladimir Putin by waiving sanctions on the Russo-German Nord Stream 2 pipeline project when he came into office.

He said he would continue objecting to Mr Biden’s Pentagon nominees “until there is accountability,” a reference to his oft-repeated call for Mr Austin and other Biden administration officials to resign.

In response, Mr Schatz accused Mr Hawley of using Mr Lowman’s nomination as an “excuse to go through his litany of criticisms of the Biden administration,” and said the Missouri Republican was “damaging the Department of Defense” out of pique.

“We have senior [Pentagon] leaders, we have the [Senate] Armed Services Committee coming to us and saying: ‘I don’t know what to tell him. I don’t know how to satisfy him, but he is blocking the staffing of the senior leadership at the Department of Defense,’” Mr Schatz said, adding that Mr Hawley’s support for the 6 January insurrection and his prior opposition to sending lethal aid to Ukraine made his objection even more galling.

“This comes from a guy who raised his fist in solidarity with the insurrectionists? This comes from a guy who, before the Russian invasion, suggested that maybe it would be wise for Zelenskyy to make a few concessions about Ukraine and their willingness to join NATO? This comes from a guy who, just about a month ago, voted against Ukraine aid, and this final insult is that until — what — Secretary Austin resigns? That is not a reasonable request,” he said.

“That is preposterous — and coming from a person who exonerated Donald Trump for extorting Zelensky for withholding lethal aid. They withheld lethal aid until — unless — Zelensky would release false smears against Joe Biden’s son, and then he voted to exonerate President Trump for this. So spare me the new solidarity with the Ukrainians and with the free world, because this man’s record is exactly the opposite”.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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