In the latest episode of legacy media behaving as if history began after January 2017, mainstream news outlets began raising hysteria this week, accusing President Donald Trump of violating the Hatch Act by using the White House as a backdrop for videos featured at Republicans’ virtual convention.
The Hatch Act is a 1939 law widely regarded as unenforceable that prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities on government time. Events this week caught the attention of media activists unearthing new ways to discredit the Republican president’s convention by charging the White House of violating the early-mid 20th century law.
Several episodes in particular catching scrutiny include Trump’s participation in a citizen naturalization ceremony broadcast at the convention and the signing of an official presidential pardon for a born-again ex-prisoner who launched a non-profit to help former inmates.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also caught criticism from Democrats and media figures for giving his speech while on a trip to Israel, despite the State Department affirming that no government time or resources were dedicated to either preparing or delivering the prime-time address.
“Did President Trump Violate The Hatch Act at the R.N.C.?” inquired a headline in The New York Times, which the paper essentially answered in the affirmative.
Opinion: The RNC is on a Hatch Act crime spree https://t.co/TTqYqHdqoK
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 26, 2020
“Trump and Pompeo’s disregard for the Hatch Act is business as usual. That’s the problem,” read another “Hot Take” headline in NBC Think.
“Trump’s RNC naturalization ceremony at White House: Tasteless, hollow and probably illegal,” blasted another hostile op-ed in USA Today authored by none other than NeverTrumper Lincoln Project senior adviser Tom Nichols.
Perhaps the richest headline, however, comes from The New Yorker. It reads, “Why Republicans Can Get Away With Violating Laws Democrats Have To Obey.” Never mind that both Kathleen Sebelius and Julian Castro were both found guilty of Hatch Act violations under the Obama administration and the president did nothing about it.
House Democrats have even demanded a federal investigation into the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) role in this week’s naturalization ceremony for potential Hatch Act infractions. Another investigation has been launched this week into Pompeo specifically from none other than Castro’s congressman brother from Texas.
Yet while Democrats and their allies in the media continue to embark on a round of Hatch Act charges against the Trump administration, a dig into the past reveals Democrats employed the same use of the White House as a convention prop in their 2012 montage videos when President Barack Obama was facing re-election.
Michelle Obama Hype Videos
Obama Hype Videos
Biden Hype Video
Bin Laden Accomplishment
Yet Trump-deranged blue checkmarks on Twitter wasted no opportunity to get in on the media’s latest act.
Media insist on giving style points to Melania rather than identifying her participation in a massive Hatch Act violation. Who cares if she reads comments about pandemic victims (a pandemic Trump ignores) if she illegally uses the trappings of govt power?https://t.co/LWspdE8MMq
— Jennifer 'pro-voting' Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) August 26, 2020
Ignoring the Hatch Act so Trump can use the resources of the federal government to help his re-election is no different from inviting the Russians to hack the election, illegally shutting down postal resources, breaking campaign finance laws. It is more lawless cheating.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) August 26, 2020
I'm joining @TheBeatWithAri to cover the Trump Administration's decision to blow off the Hatch Act and to massively politicize the powers of the Presidency to try and cheat to get a leg up in the election. 6:15 ET on @MSNBC
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) August 26, 2020
Another political event on a federal property, Pence at Fort McHenry. He is not violating the Hatch Act, but every single federal employee who helped arrange and manage this speech is guilty.
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) August 27, 2020
At this rate, about 90% of the RNC violates of The Hatch Act
— Colin Hanks (@ColinHanks) August 26, 2020
The Hatch Act is meant to protect the rule of law. The 2020 RNC is making a mockery of it. https://t.co/dYDlowfsem
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 26, 2020
Despite all the above, Daily Beast Senior Editor Molly Jong-Fast still wonders, “Where are the breathless pieces about the president and the Republican Party violating the hatch act?”