A Democratic lawmaker is quickly backpedaling after he made questionable comments about the First Amendment.
In a recent interview with CNN, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) shared his thoughts about the testimony of Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The House Judiciary Committee questioned the tech leader on allegations that negative stories about Republicans are singled out.
“I would love if I could have more than five minutes to question witnesses. Unfortunately, I don’t get that opportunity,” Lieu said about the hearing.
The lawmaker then made a transition to the idea of free speech, making an interesting claim that he would want to control speech.
“However, I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech,” Lieu said. “The First Amendment prevents me from doing so, and that’s simply a function of the First Amendment, but I think over the long run, it’s better that government does not regulate the content of speech.”
Watch the video below:
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA): "I would love to be able to regulate the content of speech. The First Amendment prevents me from doing so…" pic.twitter.com/2LYevmIqrT
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 12, 2018
Although Lieu said that self-regulation was up to private companies and that government should stay out of speech issues, some found his comments problematic and called him out on social media.
The lawmaker then attempted to clarify what he meant, tweeting that he was actually defending the First Amendment.
I would love to regulate your speech, but thank goodness the First Amendment prevents me, @POTUS, and Republicans from doing so.
Get it? I'm defending the First Amendment.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 12, 2018
My whole point is that government officials always want to regulate speech, see e.g. the Republican Judiciary hearing alleging Google is biased against Republicans. But thank goodness the First Amendment prevents me, @POTUS and Republicans from doing so.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 13, 2018
This is not the first time that the lawmaker has faced some backlash. Last year, Lieu walked out during a moment of silence for the victims of a mass shooting at a Texas church.