As widely anticipated, President Donald Trump has named senior Republican commissioner and net neutrality critic Ajit Pai as chairman of the FCC to replace Tom Wheeler, whose resignation as chairman coincided with President Trump’s inauguration.
In a formal statement, Pai, who was already an FCC commissioner, said he was “deeply grateful” to the President of the United States for designating him the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. “I look forward to working with the new Administration, my colleagues at the Commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans,” he added.
Tweeting separately, he said: “There is so much we can do together to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans and to promote innovation and investment. From broadband to broadcast, I believe in a 21st-century version of Jefferson’s 2nd Inaugural: we are all Republicans, we are all Democrats.”
Craig Aaron, president of communications advocacy group Free Press, was very critical of the appointment, commenting: “Ajit Pai has been on the wrong side of just about every major issue that has come before the FCC during his tenure. He’s never met a mega-merger he didn’t like or a public safeguard he didn’t try to undermine.”