FCC commissioner's tweet rebukes T-Mobile for its Trump International Hotel stays
Just yesterday, we told you that T-Mobile executives might have decided to improve the odds of getting approval from the FCC for its $26.5 billion merger with Sprint, by staying at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. following the announcement of the merger last April. Considering that Trump crony Ajit Pai is the commissioner of the agency, and was appointed to that position by the president in January 2017, this line of thinking by the carrier shouldn't be surprising.
Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) disseminated a tweet today that includes the Washington Post's story on T-Mobile's hotel stay with the comment "This does not look good." But Rosenworcel has been a lone voice at times at the FCC, and the agency is currently made up of three Republican commissioners and the one Democrat. Right now, with the federal government shutdown, the FCC has halted its review of the merger.However, the lone Democrat on the FCC thinks that T-Mobile's decision to stay at the hotel, which the president still personally profits from (violating the Constitution's emoluments clause and instigating a lawsuit against Trump), is not a good look for the carrier.
According to the Post, T-Mobile CEO John Legere stayed at the hotel four times in the first seven weeks following the merger's announcement last April. T-Mobile's COO, CFO and CTO have all spent some time at the hotel with one executive having made 10 visits. Legere has denied that T-Mobile executives stayed in Trump's hotel as a way to get FCC approval for the proposed merger with Sprint.
While Legere now apparently wants to get on Trump's good side, back in 2015 the pair engaged in a fight that took place on Twitter (of course). Legere, bothered by a drummer outside of a Trump Hotel in New York City, called the front desk to have the guy removed, which he was. Legere then praised the hotel's customer service. For some reason, Trump replied by insulting T-Mobile's wireless service and said that he didn't want the carrier operating in his buildings. Legere decided to pack up and check out of the hotel leading Trump to brag in a tweet that "T-Mobile service sucks and it took a Trump to call him (Legere) out." And in a great example of pot meet kettle, the future president threw in a few insults about Legere's "rock star" hair style.
Considering that Ajit Pai appears to do the president's bidding (see net neutrality, repeal of), T-Mobile may take it on the chin from some for seemingly trying to kowtow to Trump, but putting money in the president's pockets will probably pay off for John Legere even if he denies it was a conscious strategy.