Gigi Sohn — President Joe Biden's nominee for commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission — withdrew her name from consideration on Tuesday, the White House confirmed, after three successive unsuccessful nominating attempts by Biden.
Sohn's decision ended some 16 months of attempts to secure enough support, and came just hours after U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that he "cannot support her nomination" and urged Biden "to put forth a nominee who can bring us together, not drive us apart."
Manchin announces he is a no on nomination of Gigi Sohn for FCC Commissioner— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) March 7, 2023
Biden first nominated Sohn in October 2021, but her initial bid to be FCC commissioner stalled after she testified before the Senate Commerce Committee in December of that year. On January 3, 2022, her nomination was returned to Biden.
The president renominated Sohn one day later, on January 4, 2022. Hearings were again held in February 2022, and her nomination was ultimately returned to Biden on the first day of the 118th Congress that started on January 3, 2023.
That same day, Biden nominated Sohn for the third time and another round of hearings were held in February.
All of the White House's attempts were, ultimately, unable to overcome bipartisan opposition to Sohn and she finally, on Tuesday, took herself out of the process rather than face the potential of another renomination.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday that, "We appreciate Gigi Sohn's candidacy for this important role" and claimed Biden's nominee "would have brought tremendous intellect and experience" to the post. Never mind, apparently, that a bipartisan contingent of the U.S. Senate clearly disagreed. "We also appreciated her dedication to public service, her talent and her years of work as one of the nation's leading public advocates on behalf of American consumers and competition," Jean-Pierre added.
Sohn's defeat is a significant win for Senate Republicans, especially considering the upper chamber is currently controlled by Democrats. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was a leading voice warning against confirming Sohn for her previous controversial statements that suggested a significant bias against conservative figures and ideas — and a willingness to use the government to inflict that bias.
As Katie reported previously, Cruz said his "principal concern with Ms. Sohn is that she has expressed a significant willingness to use government power against political enemies, and to use government power as a tool of censorship and I think the FCC is a particularly dangerous place for a partisan who is willing to try to muzzle those with who she disagrees," the Texas Republican said.
"There was a time when there were Democrats willing to speak out in defense of free speech. That time seems to have passed. I think that is unfortunate," Cruz added. "I hope that at least some in the Democrat caucus continue to value free speech and don't want to see government power abused."
Ultimately, Cruz's hope came to fruition and Sohn withdrew her name in the face of an un-winnable vote.