UPDATE Several GOP Senators are lobbying President Donald Trump to reinstate Micheal O’Rielly’s FCC nomination, Communications Daily reports.
The President suddenly withdrew O’Rielly’s nomination for another five-year term last Monday. No reason was given. However experts speculated the action was tied to comments O’Rielly recently made at the Media Institute concerning Trump’s May executive order in which he told the Commerce Department to petition the FCC to impose new regulations on social media moderation practices. O’Rielly warned against government intervention into speech on social media and clarified his remarks were not directed at Trump nor the White House.
Senate Republicans, including Majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, are making their case for O’Rielly partly because they believe it would be hard for the Senate to confirm a replacement this year, according to the account.
“I wish [the White House] would” undo the withdrawal “and I’ve expressed that to them,” Thune told Communications Daily. Thune chairs the Senate Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet Subcommittee. The full Senate Commerce Committee approved O’Rielly’s re-nomination and sent it to the Senate on July 22, Inside Towers reported.
The issue is sensitive. None of the Commissioners addressed the situation during the agency’s monthly meeting Thursday and O’Rielly had no oral statements on items that were voted on. Also uncharacteristically, there was no press conference afterwards. An agency spokesman told Inside Towers one wasn’t scheduled as the meeting was “pretty short and straightforward.”
Politico reported the withdrawal came as a surprise to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai as well. Pai spoke with Trump at the White House Monday about telehealth, the same day the nomination was pulled, but the two did not talk about O’Rielly, according to the account. “Chairman Pai did not discuss this with anyone at the White House, including the President,” FCC spokesperson Brian Hart told Politico. “He had no knowledge that the nomination was going to be withdrawn.”
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