MAGA firebrand Josh Hawley is no stranger to political malfeasance — he’s the election-denying Missouri senator who famously raised a fist in support of the insurrectionists assembling on the morning of Jan. 6, then was caught on camera a few hours later desperately sprinting from those same rioters as they descended on the Capitol.
But now, shockingly, Hawley is apparently stooping even lower with a dirty tricks campaign aimed at an even more sacred American institution; he appears to be meddling in the Oscar race.
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Hawley released a Jan. 25 open letter to the Academy demanding that Hollywood help people exposed to radiation during the Manhattan Project by “telling their stories” — a dig, perhaps, at Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, currently the front runner for Best Picture. “The Oppenheimer film tells a compelling story of these test programs,” his letter goes on. “But it does not tell the story of the Americans left behind — still reckoning with the health and financial consequences of America’s nuclear research, after all these years.”
It’s all a bit puzzling, considering Hawley represents a state that’s about a thousand miles from where Robert Oppenheimer set off the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos, New Mexico. Also, that detonation occurred in 1945, nearly 80 years ago, so presumably there aren’t many folks left who were exposed to radiation from the Trinity test (real as the effects were for those who lived in their shadow).
So, what’s Hawley really up to?
There are two possibilities. The first is that he’s attempting to gin up national interest in his surprisingly noble-sounding efforts to win compensation for those harmed by much more recent radiation exposure at a nuclear waste site near St. Louis (last year, Hawley threatened to hold up passage of the national defense policy bill unless the Senate reauthorized the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, due to expire in June).
The second possibility?
He’s a huge Barbie fan.
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