Before Josh Hawley became known as a leader of the attempt to overturn the 2020 election in the US Congress, he was remembered by former students and staff at St Paul’s, the elite British school for boys where he spent a year teaching, as an aloof, rightwing political obsessive who had made himself popcorn to watch the US invasion of Iraq.

The Republican senator from Missouri has been the target of ire of millions of Americans after he became the first senator to say he would object to election results. Ultimately, 146 congressional Republicans joined the rightwing lawmaker in seeking to block votes from Pennsylvania and Arizona from being counted, an extraordinary move that was seen as stoking the flames of a pro-Trump mob who attacked the US Capitol.

Before the assault, Hawley was photographed walking past the crowd and raising his fist in salute to them.

While Hawley has painted himself as a man of the “American heartland”, and has expressed contempt for what he says is the US’s liberal “elite”, the graduate of Stanford and Yale Law School, who once clerked for the supreme court chief justice, John Roberts, spent a year in suburban London in 2002, at the top all-boys private school St Paul’s that dates back to 1509.

An examination of Hawley’s time there by the London-based magazine the Fence, found Hawley was not the first choice to serve as a “Colet fellow” at the prestigious private school, a role reserved for Ivy League graduates.

But Hawley persuaded the interview board with what some called his intellectual rigor and drive.

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Hawley taught A-Level politics jointly with Rob Jones, a leftwing former policeman who was described fondly when he left in the school magazine as “able to create a fearsome reputation, but is also worshipped by his students. There cannot be many who have their own Facebook appreciation society.”

The teaching style of the pair, former pupils said, was combative, with it apparent that Jones was on the left and Hawley on the right. “Rob had him take some lessons, he would sit with the boys and throw grenades every so often,” said one.



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