Conservatives rejoice after key Biden nominee withdraws: ‘Enormous victory for free speech’

Republicans and conservatives celebrated Tuesday after Gigi Sohn, President Biden’s embattled pick for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), announced she had requested the White House withdraw her nomination. Sohn’s decision came hours after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he would join all Republicans in voting against her nomination, a significant blow to her chances of receiving enough votes to be confirmed to the position. However, Sohn — who has been heavily criticized by Republican lawmakers, and a wide range of business and law enforcement groups for her past statements and positions — blamed a “dark money” political campaign. “When I accepted his nomination over sixteen months ago, I could not have imagined that legions of cable and media industry lobbyists, their bought-and-paid-for surrogates, and dark money political groups with bottomless pockets would distort my over 30-year history as a consumer advocate into an absurd caricature of blatant lies,” Sohn told The Washington Post in a statement. “The unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks on my character and my career as an advocate for the public interest have taken an enormous toll on me and my family,” she added. BIDEN’S FCC NOMINEE SITS ON BOARD OF GROUP THAT OPPOSES ANTI-SEX TRAFFICKING EFFORTS White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday that Sohn’s withdrawal was “clearly unfortunate” and that the White House was “sad to see this happen.” But Sohn’s withdrawal was cheered by Republicans and conservatives alike who had characterized her as an extreme and partisan selection for the powerful five-person FCC.  Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and a fierce opponent of Sohn’s nomination, said the withdrawal was “a major victory.” “The withdrawal of Ms. Sohn’s nomination is a major victory and represents a strong bipartisan agreement that we need a fair and impartial candidate who can receive the support needed for confirmation,” Cruz said in a statement. “The FCC is not a place for partisan activists; free speech is too important,” he continued. “Now, it’s time for the Biden administration to put forth a nominee who can be confirmed by the full Senate and is committed to serving as an even-handed and truly independent regulator.” BIDEN’S FCC NOMINEE GIGI SOHN SHARED TWEET CALLING TRUMP A ‘RAGGEDY WHITE SUPREMACIST PRESIDENT’ Sohn’s nomination, which received unanimous opposition from Republicans, was also criticized by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who formerly chaired the Commerce Committee. The Republican said Sohn’s “long record of virulent partisanship and bad judgment make her unfit to serve on the FCC.” “The FCC needs an independent non-partisan nominee and that wasn’t Gigi Sohn. She exposed herself, again and again, to be a radical, extremist, hyper-partisan, with serious ethical questions looming over her nomination,” said Thomas Jones, the president of conservative group American Accountability Foundation (AAF). The AAF spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an ad campaign to oppose Sohn’s nomination over the last year and a half. “Biden’s FCC commissioner nominee Gigi Sohn has withdrawn her nomination,” Heritage Action tweeted. “This is a WIN for grassroots Americans and a result of efforts by Heritage Action and other groups who signed a letter opposing Sohn’s nomination.” BIDEN’S FCC NOMINEE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR MEDIA LEAK THAT TANKED BIPARTISAN BROADBAND DEAL Cruz’s special advisor for communications, Steve Guest, had some fun with the announcement by tweeting out a picture of Cruz wearing sunglasses while smoking a cigar, along with multiple “flackback” clips of Cruz slamming Sohn during confirmation hearings. Jon Schweppe, the policy director for the American Principles Project, similarly declared victory. “This was a really long fight. And we won,” he tweeted. “Gigi Sohn will not serve on the FCC. Her nomination has been withdrawn.” Schweppe added that it was an “enormous victory for free speech.” And the National Republican Senate Committee celebrated that Biden and Senate Democrats were forced to “wave the white flag on their radical FCC nominee Gigi Sohn.” Biden first selected Sohn to fill a vacant seat on the FCC in October 2021, but her nomination failed to advance past the Senate Commerce Committee. The president then nominated her for a second time in January. CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP Over the last month, Sohn has faced criticism for her anti-police views, once sharing a tweet saying former President Trump was a “raggedy white supremacist president” and sitting on the board of an organization opposed to anti-sex trafficking laws.  Additionally, Sohn has been a vocal proponent of net neutrality. The Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest business industry group, has warned of Sohn’s “extreme views” and reiterated its call for the Senate to reject her nomination in January. Sohn’s failure to receive enough support in the Senate means the FCC will remain at a 2-2 deadlock for the foreseeable future.
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