White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday backed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to deliver his Republican National Convention remarks during an official trip despite concerns he violated federal law.
During an appearance on Politico’s “Plug in with Playbook,” Meadows suggested the original purpose of the Hatch Act has been exaggerated.
The Hatch Act, passed in 1939, “limits certain political activities of federal employees, as well as some state, D.C., and local government employees.”
“What it’s really designed to do is to make sure that people like myself and others do not use their political position to try to convince other employees other federal employees that they need to vote one way, register one way or campaign another way,” Meadows said.
He added, “We’ve taken it on well beyond the original intent of the Hatch Act.”
Watch his comments below:
Meadows noted Pompeo “made it very clear” he spoke in his own personal capacity and used no “federal assets” to deliver his speech.
He argued Americans are not concerned with Hatch Act violations and Pompeo’s speech has come into question because the convention has been a threat to Democrats.
“Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares. They expect that Donald Trump is going to promote Republican values and they would expect that Barack Obama, when he was in office, that he would do the same for Democrats,” Meadows said.
He continued, “So listen, this is a lot of hoopla that’s being made about things, mainly because the convention has been so unbelievably successful.”
“Secretary Pompeo’s decision to address the Republican Convention from Jerusalem isn’t just an abuse of taxpayer dollars; it undermines the critical work being done by the State Department,” Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield said in a press release.