Trump spoke to a crowd on the South Lawn as he accepted his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention, one of several purely political events done on government property lately.
Earlier this week, Trump turned a naturalization ceremony at the White House into a televised spectacle during the RNC. And on Thursday, for Trump’s speech, the White House was festooned with campaign signs and logos.
Former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub, who served for six months under Trump and six under President Barack Obama, said the South Lawn speech wasn’t just an ethical lapse but “the breach of a sacred trust.”
This abomination may be the most visible misuse of official position for private gain in America’s history. It is an abuse of the power entrusted to this man, the breach of a sacred trust. It is the civic equivalent of a mortal sin—maybe a religious one too. And it is a harbinger pic.twitter.com/UryxiQTyv0— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) August 28, 2020
The RNC was initially scheduled for Charlotte, North Carolina, but Trump was unhappy with the state’s limitations on gatherings intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Others joined Shaub to condemn the use of the White House for partisan political purposes:
This is a desecration of The People’s House.— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) August 28, 2020
This entire night of the #RNC2020 is illegal and a violation of the Hatch Act. The fact that no one will be arrested for this is indicative of how close we are to an autocratic dictatorship already— Jason Johnson (@DrJasonJohnson) August 28, 2020
Answer: Almost the entire RNC convention was a Hatch...