Last month we wrote about how President Trump withdrew the renomination of FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly just days after O’Rielly dared to [checks notes] reiterate his support for the 1st Amendment in a way that hinted at the fact that he knew Trump’s executive order was blatantly unconstitutional. Some people argued the renomination was pulled for other reasons, but lots of people in DC said it was 100% about his unwillingness to turn the FCC into a speech police for the internet.
While it seems quite unlikely that Trump can get someone new through the nomination process before the election, apparently they’re thinking of nominating someone who appears eager to do the exact opposite: Nathan Simington, who wants the FCC to be the internet speech police so bad that he helped draft the obviously unconstitutional executive order in response to the President’s freak-out at being fact checked.
Three sources close to the matter say Nathan Simington, a senior advisor at the NTIA within the commerce department, has emerged as a leading candidate to take over Republican Commissioner Mike O’Rielly’s seat at the FCC.
Simington is said to have helped draft the administration’s social media executive order, and his nomination would be a victory for Republicans who want to see the FCC take a larger role in regulating social networks.
You can see the Trumpian logic here: “O’Rielly gently pushed back the tiniest bit on our plan to ignore the 1st Amendment and compel social media companies to host the propaganda and disinformation we spew, so let’s replace him with someone who supports that singularly stupid argument. How about the guy who drafted the executive order!”
The idea that “will you support the FCC being the speech police” is now the Republican litmus test for being an FCC Commissioner is a freakish 180 from the history of Republican FCC Commissioners who have spent decades arguing against that on the things they actually have authority over (with the notable exception of obscenity, which GOP Commissioners have, at times, wanted to police). Either way, this seems like yet another example of the Republican party not having any core principles other than punishing the companies and people that Trump doesn’t like.