Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO)
As of 2018, Sen. Hawley was a member of The Crossing Church in Columbia, MO. He has said that his legal and political career is a natural extension of his Christian faith. On Dec. 2, Sen. Hawley tweeted, “Beijing inflicted #COVID19 on the world and continues to violate its treaty obligations & destroy the liberties of its people, including this latest crackdown in #HongKong.” This tweet illustrates how he and other GOP candidates exploit Hong Kong’s present crisis to perpetuate the myth that the Chinese government “inflicted” the coronavirus on the world. On his recent Twitter feed, Sen. Hawley has repeatedly pushed debunked conspiracy theories about ties between Joe Biden and the CCP. Sen. Hawley also co-sponsored the “Justice for Victims of Coronavirus Act” on May 4, 2020, described above (see Senator Marsha Blackburn). On July 20, 2020, Sen. Hawley co-sponsored the "Civil Justice for Victims of Coronavirus Act" (see Senator Marsha Blackburn).
The Crossing Church, co-led by pastors Dave Cover, Keith Simon, and Shay Roush, is part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Columbia, the city where it is located, is home to approximately 5,600 people of Asian descent. On its website, The Crossing states, “Everyone’s Welcome.” Pastor Cover has tweeted about the “anti-racist power of the gospel.” This year, the EPC held 3 online webinars on “race and justice.”
Missouri as a whole was home to 127,154 Asians as of 2019. Between March 19 and August 5, 2020, 11 hate crime incidents in Missouri were reported to Stop AAPI Hate (8).
For more analysis of Sen. Hawley, researched subsequent to the letter's publication, see "Updates."