Once again, President Donald Trump is giving the middle finger to his critics and political opposition. He told the New York Post he would deliver his Republican National Convention acceptance speech from the White House lawn.
Is it even legal to do that? It turns out that the Hatch Act, which prohibits partisan political activity on federal property, doesn’t apply to the president or the vice president.
“I’ll probably be giving my speech at the White House because it is a great place. It’s a place that makes me feel good, it makes the country feel good,” Trump told the Post, saying it would also be easiest for law enforcement and the Secret Service.
“We’d do it possibly outside on one of the lawns, we have various lawns, so we could have it outside in terms of the China virus,” he continued, referring to social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We could have quite a group of people. It’s very big, a very big lawn. We could have a big group of people,” he said when asked if he’d formally accept the Republican nomination for president with a crowd of supporters.
Only real Trump haters will begrudge the president trying to remain safe while the protesters outside the White House gate call for his blood. And, of course, there is concern about the president’s health during a pandemic. With the GOP convention upended by the coronavirus, it appears most of the major events will be taking place in Washington, D.C., at various federal buildings.
The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, a grand historic federal building located close to the Trump International Hotel, will serve as a “central hub” for speeches, according to two people familiar with the plans. Over the years, the building’s column-lined ballroom has been the location for a variety of notable moments — from the signing ceremony for the North American Treaty Organization to scenes for the walk-and-talk political drama “The West Wing.” And now it will serve as a key site for a pandemic-upended 2020 RNC.
The convention will spread out across federal properties in, and possibly, around Washington. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to deliver their acceptance speeches on federal property — including even the White House — as the Republicans scramble to rework the event following a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Unprecedented, to be sure. But critics are still questioning its legality and there may be a court challenge in the offing before too long.
The unusual arrangement is already drawing ethical concerns that federal resources will be used for campaign events and that administration officials will violate the law by campaigning for the president on government property. And it’s not lost on Trump critics that the president’s flagship hotel, already a gathering spot for Republicans, will be conveniently located a short walk from the Mellon Auditorium.
Yes, here’s Trump making money off the presidency again. Don’t liberals ever get tired of flogging this dead horse? Nobody is listening, so it really doesn’t matter.
It’s not going to be the convention Trump wanted. But he will make the most of it, I’m sure.