Press Sec Drops Hatch Act Definition on Reporter After Question About 'Political' Rose Garden Speech

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Posted: Jul 17, 2020 8:30 AM
Press Sec Drops Hatch Act Definition on Reporter After Question About 'Political' Rose Garden Speech

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany called out a reporter for his question about the president’s “political speech” this week in the Rose Garden, pointing out that what he was really asking about was the Hatch Act. To clear things up, McEnany reminded him just what exactly the federal law states.

The reporter started by asking about two recent events he claimed wouldn’t have been done by previous administrations. 

“The first was the campaign meeting in the Cabinet Room last month, and then the political speech in the Rose Garden this week,” he said. “Can you talk about your understanding of what the White House policy is for this White House, as far as politics?  Is there any place in the White House where you think politics is inappropriate?  And where do you — where do you draw the line?”

“We act in accordance with the Hatch Act,” McEnany shot back. “It’s well established that the president and vice president are not subject to the Hatch Act.  It says this much in the Hatch Act.  It says that the Hatch Act applies to executive branch employees, which is defined in the Hatch Act as 'employee,' meaning any individual other than the president and the vice president.”

The reporter claimed his question had nothing to do with the Hatch Act.

“It has everything to do with this,” she replied. “Go read the Hatch Act.  That’s what you’re alleging that is problematic with the president.”

“Well, no," he countered. "I’m just — I’m stating no —” 

“But what your real problem was, was the fact that the president gave a very good, powerful speech from the Rose Garden.”