“No one in the White House has contacted us to express a view about the merger,” Pai said.
In July, the FCC unanimously voted to refer the merger for an administrative review to determine if the conservative-leaning Sinclair engaged in misrepresentation or displayed a lack of candor about the merger to the commission.
Trump’s tweet raised the question of whether he had involved himself in the decision-making progress of an independent regulator.
Within days of the FCC action, Trump tweeted: “So sad and unfair that the FCC wouldn’t approve the Sinclair Broadcast merger with Tribune. This would have been a great and much needed Conservative voice for and of the People.”
The Republican president said it was “disgraceful” that the FCC was standing in the way of the merger, which he compared to a 2011 FCC approved deal in which Comcast Corp acquired NBC.
On Thursday, Pai reiterated previous statements to Congress defending the decision to review.
Sinclair owns 192 stations, the largest number of local TV stations in the United States. The company said in May 2017 it planned to acquire 42 new stations from the Tribune. But it had said it would sell 23 of its existing stations to obtain regulatory approval.