While advocates of press freedom condemned the comments and lawmakers urged the Federal Communication Commission to specifically rebuke them, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has so far refused to denounce President Donald Trump’s threats to strip news outlets of their “licenses”—something he himself doesn’t have the power to do but which critics say speaks directly to his “authoritarian” tendencies.

But while members from both parties condemned the implications of Trump’s remarks—and other FCC commissions assured the public that they would stand in the way of such attempts—many said that Pai’s strategic “silence” on the issue is cause for deep concern of its own.

As The Nation‘s John Nichols said in response to Pai’s refusal to speak out: “Worry.”


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