Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on Thursday asserted that any attempts by President Trump to weaponize non-disclosure agreements to silence former White House staffers would be in violation of the First Amendment.
Earlier this week, ex-White House communications aide Cliff Sims sued the president “in his official capacity” in response to the Trump campaign’s arbitration claim accusing Sims of violating his 2016 campaign NDA when he wrote his Team of Vipers, his 2019 tell-all book. Sims’ lawyers alleged that the president used the campaign as a “cutout” to silence and chill the free-speech rights of their client and other former White House aides.
During Thursday’s broadcast of his Fox Nation show Liberty File, Napolitano wholeheartedly backed Sims’ argument.
“Here is the problem for the president: While the campaign is not subject to the First Amendment, the White House clearly is,” Napolitano explained. “Even if Sims did sign an NDA at the White House, the First Amendment prevents the government from enforcing it. And, in fact, several government statutes protect whistleblowers.”
Napolitano, who has gained a reputation as “Fox News’ lonely truth-teller” when it comes to all matters Trump, went on to say that the government cannot punish speech for someone who initially agreed to remain silent.
Adding that Sims’ book constitutes part of “that brand of public free speech” the Founding Fathers sought to protect, Napolitano concluded by suggesting Trump may be acting less like a president and more like royalty.
“If presidents can use legal artifices to punish the speech they hate and fear, they’re no longer presidents of a free society,” he concluded. “They are princes in an empire.”