On Wednesday afternoon, as U.S. senators hid in a secure room from a dangerous mob, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was already feeling isolated. One person in the room told the Wall Street Journal, "It was extremely striking. For most of the time, he was in a corner of the room by himself with no one talking to him or acknowledging him."
The Missouri Republican should probably get used to that feeling.
We discussed last week the severity of the backlash against Hawley over his role in helping create the conditions for last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol. NBC News reported over the weekend that the Missourian remains a political "pariah."
One of his most important early backers now says supporting him "was the worst mistake I ever made in my life," and a top donor called for him to be censured by the Senate. That's just some of the condemnation that's come Sen. Josh Hawley's way since the Missouri Republican became the first senator to announce he would object to the counting of Electoral College votes and then moved forward with his plan even after a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters had stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
The number of Democratic senators calling for Hawley to resign also continues to grow.* It's against this backdrop that President-elect Joe Biden said Hawley pushed "the big lie" -- invoking Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany's minister of propaganda. The Missouri Republican took great offense, though the fact that Hawley found himself stuck in such a conversation served as a reminder of his larger dilemma.
The landscape is no better for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who's facing a similar backlash for similar reasons. Over the weekend, the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle called for the Texas Republican to resign.
We're done with the drama. Done with the opportunism. Done with the cynical scheming that has now cost American lives. Resign, Mr. Cruz, and deliver Texas from the shame of calling you our senator.
Similarly, the editorial board of the San Antonio Express News called for Cruz's expulsion.
A day later, longtime Cruz friend Chad Sweet, a former CIA operative who chaired the senator's 2016 presidential campaign, denounced Cruz for abetting an "assault on our democracy."
Around the same time, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) appeared on NBC News' "Meet the Press" and said, in reference to Hawley and Cruz, "They're going to have a lot of soul searching to do. And the problem is they were complicit in the big lie."
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R-R.I.), meanwhile, is working on the creation of a new commission to investigate last week's attack on the Capitol -- and he's insisting that Cruz and Hawley play no part in the probe.
If these two far-right senators are waiting for the point at which their colleagues treat them with respect, they'll probably be waiting for quite a while.
* Update: As of this afternoon, six Senate Dems have called on Hawley and Cruz to resign.