Trump may deliver his convention speech at the White House: Here’s why it’s controversial


TOP LINE

President Trump confirmed Wednesday that he is considering delivering his Republican convention address at the White House, but doing so may cause other federal employees involved to violate the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees except the president and vice president from participate in certain political activities. activities during work.

KEY FACTS

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Trump was eyeing the South Lawn of the White House as the location for his nomination acceptance speech, another violation of presidential norms for arguably the most important speech of an election campaign (previous presidents have generally refrained from hold campaign events in the west wing).

The Republican convention was originally scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, and later in Jacksonville, Florida, but was criticized for reasons related to Covid-19 and disputes with local officials about the feasibility of large events during a pandemic.

Wednesday during an interview with fox and friendsTrump confirmed where he was considering giving the speech: “I’ll probably do mine live from the White House,” he said.

The Hatch Act prevents government agency officials from engaging in political activity while on the job, but it excludes the president and vice president.

The restrictions also do not apply to rooms in the residence at the White House or the vice president’s residence that are “not regularly used solely in the performance of official duties.” according to the Washington Post.

However, any government official participating in the event could be violating the law, as the Hatch Act defines political activity as “any activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group. ,” according to the Departmental Ethics Office at the Ministry of the Interior.

Tangent

The Republican National Committee has said it will reimburse the government for any costs incurred by the event, though some people say those costs will be difficult to calculate.

pivotal appointment

When order By reporters Wednesday about the possibility of Trump giving his acceptance speech at the White House, Sen. John Thune (R.D.) exclaimed, “Is that legal?” before adding: “I think anything he does on federal property would seem to be problematic.”

chief critic

Richard Painter, a White House ethics attorney during the George W. Bush administration who later switched parties to run as a Democratic candidate for Senate in Minnesota in 2018, said on Twitter Wednesday that “all White House staff members White House participating” in the campaign event will be in violation of the Hatch Act.

key background

The Hatch Act was passed in 1939 after Democrats used government officials working for the Works Progress Administration to help them campaign. It was enacted for to guarantee that “federal programs are administered on a nonpartisan basis, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace and to ensure that federal employees are promoted based on merit and not political affiliation.”

amazing fact

The Office of Special Counsela federal watchdog agency, recommended that White House Counsel Kellyanne Conway be removed from her post for violating the Hatch Act in 2019. In an interview with fox and friends in 2017, Conway had attacked then-Democratic Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones while speaking in his official capacity as a government official. In turn, the White House argued that Conway was exercising her First Amendment rights, and Trump subsequently refused to fire her.

Other readings

Republicans eye White House South Lawn for Donald Trump’s convention speech (Washington Post)

Trump, in a ‘Fox & Friends’ interview, warns it could take years to get election results with mass-mailed ballots (FoxNews)

Gettysburg? The Liberty Bell? Trump weighs RNC speech options (New York Times)

Trump confirms he is considering delivering a convention speech from the White House (politician)

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