On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, questioned FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on whether he agrees with President Trump that the press is an enemy of the American people. Asked twice – including for a yes or no – Chairman Pai refused to answer.
At 3:05 in the video:
SENATOR HASSAN: Chairman Pai…here’s [a] quote of you – “In my view, anyone who has the privilege of serving at the FCC, any preacher with a pulpit, if you will, has the duty to speak out whenever Americans’ First Amendment rights are at stake.” And you agree that’s a quote of yours?
CHAIRMAN PAI: That is correct, yes.
SENATOR HASSAN: And I note that you’re official biography says that you are an outspoken defender of First Amendment freedoms. So, there’s obviously been – over the course of recent months – clear tension between members of our nation’s press and the current administration, and Senator Udall asked you a question a little while ago, just asking you whether you agreed or not with the statement that the media is the enemy of the American people. And it seemed to me that you kind of declined to answer that, and I’d just like to give you another chance, because it seems to me that if you’re an outspoken defender of the free press, that should be a pretty easy question for you.
CHAIRMAN PAI: Senator to the contrary, as I said to your predecessor, I agree that every American has a full and fair opportunity to exercise and enjoy the rights protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, and I’ve consistently spoken out about that, in the context of the 2013 Critical Information Needs study that the FCC was –
SENATOR HASSAN: So, yes or no, do you agree with the statement that the President made that the media is the enemy of the American people?
CHAIRMAN PAI: Well Senator, there’s a larger political debate here that I don’t want to wade into, all I can tell you is that I personally believe that every American enjoys the First Amendment freedoms that he or she has been granted under the Constitution.