Publishing giant Simon & Schuster announced Thursday it was canceling the publication of a book by Sen. Josh Hawley after hundreds of people stormed the U.S. Capitol Building a day earlier and the Missouri Republican objected to the Electoral College tally.
In a statement, the publishing house called the incident, which led to the death of one woman — an unarmed Air Force veteran from San Diego, who was shot and killed by police — and scores of arrests, “disturbing” and a “deadly insurrection.”
“We did not come to this decision lightly,” the statement said, according to NBC News. “As a publisher, it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: at the same time, we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.”
Three other protesters who breached the Capitol Building also died of “medical emergencies,” officials said. And on Friday, Capitol Police said one of its officers who responded to the incursion died from injuries sustained in clashes with demonstrators. The department said Friday that the officer’s death is being investigated as a homicide.
Hawley was one of two senators to object to electors; he objected to Pennsylvania’s slate for President-elect Joe Biden, alleging that state officials unconstitutionally changed voting rules ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), meanwhile, objected to Arizona’s slate.
A raft of GOP senators who had previously announced that they too would lodge objections to various slates of electors, backtracked on those pledges following Wednesday’s incident.
“As I read the Constitution, there is no constitutionally viable means for the Congress to overturn an election wherein the states have certified and sent their electors,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said in a statement.
“Some of my colleagues believe they have found a path, and while our opinions differ, I do not doubt their good intentions to take steps towards stamping out voter fraud. Importantly, I disagree with their method both in principle and in practice,” he added.
“My job on Wednesday is clear, and there are only two things I am permitted to do under the Constitution: ensure the electors are properly certified and count the electoral votes, even when I disagree with the outcome,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) added in a statement of his own. “To challenge a state’s certification, given how specific the Constitution is, would be a violation of my oath of office — that is not something I am willing to do and is not something Oklahomans would want me to do.”
As for Hawley, he blasted the publisher’s decision as the latest example of leftist “cancel culture.”
“This could not be more Orwellian,” the Missouri Republican and former state attorney general said of Simon & Schuster’s decision, in a statement posted online. The publisher “is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 7, 2021
“Let me be clear, this is not just a contract dispute,” he continued. “It’s a direct assault on the First Amendment. Only approved speech can now be published. This is the left looking to cancel everyone they don’t approve of. I will fight this cancel culture with everything I have. We’ll see you in court.”
Fox & Friends co-hosts discussed the cancelation on Friday, with Jedediah Bila noting that, as a private company, Simon & Schuster has a right to make such publishing decisions.
“I know that the impulse is to say, ‘This is Orwellian,’ but for me, it’s actually the opposite,” she said. “For me, it’s Orwellian to think that anyone would be able to tell a private company that they need to publish your book or it’s a First Amendment violation. So I think he has this wrong, and I’m taking aside what I believe was atrocious behavior on his part with respect to the election. … His statement to me, made utterly no sense.”
Weekend co-host Will Cain agreed with Bila regarding the private company aspect, but both he and co-host Steve Doocy agreed that the publisher’s decision was “Orwellian” because the “thesis” of Hawley’s book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” initially scheduled for a June 21 release, is largely about cancel culture and censorship.
Hawley announced the book deal in October, saying, “At a time when these platforms are determining elections, banning inconvenient political views, lining politicians’ pockets with hundreds of millions of dollars, and addicting our kids to screens, I want to draw attention to the robber-barons of the modern era.”
The junior Missouri senator has been a frequent critic of social media giants Twitter, Facebook, and Google.
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