When Josh Hawley Told Dr. Fauci To Resign Over Emails, People Reminded Him That’s What He Should Have Done After Jan. 6

Projection is the psychological process of denying one’s own faults by attributing them to others. It’s also one of the favorite tactics of today’s Republicans. Case in point: Earlier this year, Josh Hawley earned scorn, even from his home state, for his role in promoting the events that led to the failed insurrection of Jan. 6. Many demanded he resign. He didn’t. But now he’s demanding Dr. Anthony Fauci do what he himself should have done months ago.

Last week, thousands of pages of emails written by the nation’s top doctor during the early days of the pandemic were made public. Were they awful? Not really. BuzzFeed pored over all of them and concluded that the worst he did was try to keep the nation calm by protecting them from certain information. But conservatives predictably tried to gin up controversy anyway, claiming they were proof that the person who saved untold lives during a public health crisis — while gingerly handling a boss with no interest in stopping it — should lose the job he’s held for decades.

One of them was Hawley, who seized upon the brouhaha to offer some psychological projection. He took to Twitter, calling the emails “shocking,” saying that the “time has come for Fauci to resign and for a full congressional investigation into the origins of #COVID19 – and into any and all efforts to prevent a full accounting.”

But people caught Hawley’s projection. And they went back to what they’ve been saying since early January: that the Missouri senator, who was seen pumping a fist at the people who would soon storm the Capitol, should be the one who quits in disgrace.

People also imagined a world in which we trust someone like Senator Hawley more than someone like Dr. Fauci.