ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Missouri Republican U.S. Senator Josh Hawley is facing criticism in the wake of the insurrection and rioting at the Capitol.

Hawley was the first senator to object to Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. Many other Republican lawmakers then followed suit with more objections.

Critics say those actions helped fuel the emotions and beliefs of people like those who converged on the Capitol Wednesday convinced that somehow the election was stolen from President Trump.

The Kansas City Star editorial board went so far as to say that Hawley “has blood on his hands in the Capitol coup attempt.”

Wednesday Hawley acknowledged the Capitol protesters with his fist in the air. The photo of the acknowledgment was taken before protesters stormed the Capitol.

Later after the violence had already happened, Hawley put out a tweet that said, “thank you to the brave law enforcement officials who have put their lives on the line. The violence must end, those who attacked police and broke the law must be prosecuted, and Congress must get back to work and finish its job.”

When the Senate and House finally got back to work, Hawley spoke condemning the violence but also saying election security is an issue.

“I hope that this body will not miss the opportunity to take affirmative action to address the concerns of so many millions of Americans to say to millions of Americans tonight that violence is never warranted, that violence will not be tolerated, those that engage in it will be prosecuted but that this body will act to address the concerns of all Americans across the country. We do need an investigation into irregularities, fraud, we do need a way forward together. We need election security reforms,” Hawley said.

His specific objection was about the process in Pennsylania, but like all the other objections it was defeated in a vote.

Pundits and others are saying that Hawley may have done this as part of his own future political aspirations including a potential presidential run in 2024.

Missouri’s other Senator, Republican Roy Blunt issued a statement that said in part. “my view is that there is not sufficient evidence to sustain the objections. The states and the voters in each state elect the president. As such, Congress has a constitutional obligation to accept the election results.”

Blunt also called the attack on the Capitol a sad day for America but said we will move forward.