AOC mocks Josh Hawley after he complains about ‘Orwellian’ loss of book deal over role in encouraging Capitol riot

Republican senator dropped by publisher for goading Trump supporters into ‘what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom’

Joe Sommerlad
Friday 08 January 2021 19:09 GMT
Related video: The moment pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol Building
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Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has lashed out at Republican senator Josh Hawley after he issued a self-pitying public statement mourning the loss of a lucrative book deal in the wake of the Capitol riots.

The senator for Missouri was aggrieved after Simon & Schuster announced it had abandoned plans to publish his forthcoming volume The Tyranny of Big Tech over his role in encouraging the storming of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, on Wednesday in ugly scenes of looting and vandalism that left five people dead and led to 52 arrests.

Senator Hawley and five of his Republican peers had announced beforehand that they intended to support Donald Trump’s protest against his election defeat by challenging the certification of the results in Congress.

He was photographed raising a clenched fist in solidarity with supporters of the president rallying nearby on his way into the chamber before the violent clashes got underway.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Simon & Schuster said of its decision to drop the book. “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.”

The disappointed author hit back with a tweeted statement casting himself as a victim of “cancel culture”.

“This could not be more Orwellian. Simon & Schuster is cancelling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to rebrand as sedition.

“Let me be clear, this is not just a contract dispute. 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.”

Incensed, the influential New York progressive, popularly known as AOC, took him to task for his self-involvement and failure to take responsibility for the consequences of his actions.

“You fist-pumped insurrectionists and baselessly attacked our elections,” she replied to him on Twitter. “Your actions fueled a riot and you fundraised in the chaos. Five people are dead.

“Even your GOP colleagues have distanced from your acts. Yet here you are crying over a book deal. You should be expelled.”

Mr Hawley’s Republican colleague from Nebraska Ben Sasse has likewise taken him to task, telling NPR his plan to object to the Electoral College results was “really dumbass” and saying: “It was a stunt and it was a terrible, terrible idea, and you don’t lie to the American people.”

Also deeply critical of Mr Hawley was his former mentor, ex-state senator John Danforth, who expressed regret over his past endorsement of the politician, telling The Kansas City Star: “I thought he was special. And I did my best to encourage people to support him both for attorney general and later the US Senate and it was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life.”

The same newspaper commented in an editorial that Mr Hawley now has “blood on his hands” and called on him to resign.

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