If it’s a constitutional claim that Hawley is planning on making in court, he can expect to have about as much luck as the Trump campaign has had in recent months. Simon & Schuster’s decision is neither Orwellian nor a violation of the First Amendment, much less a “direct assault” on it. The government is not restricting Hawley’s speech. He is free to find a publisher willing to associate itself with him. I believe that Simon & Schuster should not have canceled this contract, as America is better off when its institutions abide by the spirit and not just the letter of the First Amendment. But the company is under no constitutional obligation to associate with Hawley. I can certainly understand why it would not want to after Wednesday’s events.
The objective of Hawley’s statement is obvious: to take this personal event, which has occurred as a direct result of his own behavior, and to make Republicans feel as if this was a personal attack on them and their beliefs. It was not. But remember: Hawley’s political fortunes are tied to a bet that voters won’t think clearly. A bet that he is all-in on after continuing to object to the certification of the election by Congress even after the assault on the Capitol.