Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, was surprised Friday when, instead of delivering prepared remarks as he had planned at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he was given an award from the National Rifle Association.
The Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award is not given every year, explained Carolyn Meadows, the second vice president of the NRA. It’s only presented when a person has “stood up under pressure with grace, and dignity, and principled discipline.”
Citing the death threats Ajit Pai reportedly received as part of the backlash to his decision to overturn net neutrality protections, Dan Schneider, the Executive Director of the American Conservative Union, called Pai “the most courageous, heroic person that I know."
It was because he rammed through the net neutrality repeal despite the fact that it was categorically rejected by the American public that the NRA gifted Pai with the title and the award, which is literally a gun: a Kentucky, hand-made long gun, to be precise.
“We cannot bring the award on stage, but being from the NRA your gift will be housed in our museum with a plaque to you,” Meadows said. “When you can receive it, we’ll give it to you. You’ll love it!”
Past honorees of the Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award include Vice President Mike Pence, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, and talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
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