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“There’s no ‘confusion’ over the Biden Disinformation Board,” Hawley said on Twitter Monday. “Everyone understands exactly what it is – a censorship committee to punish free speech. Dissolve it now.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
In a later tweet, Hawley vowed to introduce legislation aimed at eliminating the board.
“If Joe Biden won’t dissolve his unconstitutional Disinformation Board, Congress should,” he said. “I will introduce legislation this week to eliminate the Board and forbid the government ever to create another one. It’s time to stand up for free speech.”
Hawley’s comments come in response to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who told “Fox News Sunday” that the Biden administration “”could have done a better job in communicating” the intent of the board.
While critics such as Hawley have expressed concerns over the board’s potential to regulate free speech, Mayorkas insisted it was created to combat “disinformation that presents a security threat to the homeland.”
“Disinformation from Russia, from China, from Iran, from the cartels,” Mayorkas said.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
“This is a working group that takes best practices to make sure that, in addressing disinformation that presents a threat to the homeland, our work does not infringe on free speech, does not infringe on civil rights, civil liberties,” he continued. “It’s not about speech, it’s about the connectivity to violence. That is what we need to address. You know, an individual has the free speech right to spew anti-Semitic rhetoric. What they don’t have the right to do is take hostages in a synagogue, and that’s where we get involved.”
But during testimony last week when he announced the creation of the Disinformation Governance Board, Mayorkas said the board was created to combat online disinformation.
“The goal is to bring the resources of [DHS] together to address this threat,” Mayorkas said, specifically pointing to threats to the 2022 midterm elections.
Sen. Tom Cotton (Patrick Semansky)
Hawley is not the only lawmaker to express similar concerns about the board, with Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., likening it to George Orwell’s famed Ministry of Truth from 1984.
“The Federal Government has no business creating a Ministry of Truth,” Cotton said last week. “The Department of Homeland Security’s ‘Disinformation Board’ is unconstitutional and unamerican, and I’ll be introducing a bill to defund it.”