After plans were scrapped for the Republican National Convention in Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump is saying he may accept the party’s nomination from Washington, D.C. later this month.
Asked about reports about potentially giving an acceptance speech from the White House, Trump responded during a “Fox & Friends” interview on Wednesday, “We’re thinking about it. It would be the easiest from the standpoint of security.”
He continued, “We’re thinking about doing it from the White House because there’s no movement and it’s easy,” adding that the White House South Lawn is a “beautiful setting.”
The president then stated that “it’s the easiest alternative,” adding, “I’ll probably do mine live from the White House.” However, he said those plans are not yet set in stone. He also said it would be “the least expensive from the country’s standpoint.”
Listen to Trump’s remarks below:
Defending plans to accept the Republican nomination at the White House, Trump says he likes DC: "I spend a lot of time here and I like it. And I think it's a great place, and greatly representative of our nation." pic.twitter.com/C3V4LN9UYr— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) August 5, 2020
Trump’s remarks sparked a conversation about the Hatch Act, which “prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities while on duty, in a government room or building, while wearing an official uniform, or while using a government vehicle,” according to the U.S. Department of Interior. The president and vice president are exempt from it.
Richard Painter, who was the chief White House ethics lawyer under Bush, told The Washington Post, “He may not be violating the Hatch Act, but he is ordering other people to. At a certain point you are using White House resources, and that is a violation of the Hatch Act.”
Here we go …. again.— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) August 5, 2020
A staged political event at the White House. Every White House staff member who participates in this violates the Hatch Act.
Trump may deliver convention acceptance speech from the South Lawn of the White House. https://t.co/3OT7q4uRK5
Trump made known on July 23 that the Republican convention in Jacksonville, Florida, would be canceled as the state saw a spike in coronavirus cases.
“I looked at my team and I said the timing for this event is not right, it’s just not right with what’s happened recently, the flare-up in Florida,” Trump said at the time. “To have a big convention it’s not the right time.”
The president added during the previous press briefing, “It’s really something that for me, I have to protect the American people. That’s what I’ve always done. That’s what I always will do. That’s what I’m about.”
This week, Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, said that her husband will be attending the three debates planned as he looks to go face-to-face with Trump for the presidency.
While some Democratic operatives are pushing for Joe Biden to skip the presidential debates, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, who cited the president’s campaign manager Bill Stepien, argued this week that there should be more debates.