(CNN) — In an extraordinary move, Simon & Schuster announced Thursday that it has dropped plans to publish a book by Sen. Josh Hawley, one of the Republican lawmakers who led objections to Congress certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“After witnessing the disturbing, deadly insurrection that took place on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Simon & Schuster has decided to cancel publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book,” the company said in a statement.
“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Simon & Schuster added. “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.”
Hawley in a statement responded to Simon & Schuster’s decision by calling the move “Orwellian” and a “direct assault on the First Amendment” — even though as a graduate of Yale Law School he likely knows the First Amendment is about government restricting free speech and not forcing a private company to publish his work.
Video: Watch Sen. Josh Hawley speak after Capitol riots
“This is the Left looking to cancel everyone they don’t approve of. I will fight this cancel culture with everything I have,” Hawley lamented. “We’ll see you in court.”
Hawley’s forthcoming book, titled “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” was scheduled to be published in June 2021. In the book, Hawley was set to argue major tech companies “represent the gravest threat to American liberty since the monopolies of the Gilded Age,” according to a description posted on Simon & Schuster’s website.
Four people died on Wednesday when supporters of President Donald Trump, angered after being lied to about the election being stolen, stormed Capitol Hill and forced a temporary halt to a congressional procedure to certify the election results.
Hawley, the junior senator from Missouri, had been one of the leading Republican senators egging on efforts to object to the largely ceremonial proceedings. Cheered on by Trump, he endorsed the objection to the Pennsylvania vote count, sending it votes in both chambers. The objection was soundly defeated.
Hawley claimed on Twitter that “Antifa scumbugs” terrorized his wife Monday night at their home in a Washington, D.C., suburb. Police contradicted his account, saying that about 15 activists who had assembled for a vigil prompted by Hawley’s challenge of the election results left without incident shortly after officers arrived.
On Thursday, John Danforth — a highly regarded former Republican senator from Missouri — said he had been “bamboozled” by Hawley and will no longer support his political ambitions. In an interview with the Associated Press, Danforth said that Hawley’s claim that the election was fraudulent “is very, very destructive to the country,” and he called his previous support of Hawley “the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life.”
Hawley, 41, attended Stanford University and Yale Law School. After two years as Missouri’s attorney general, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018, ousting Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.
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