White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany fired back at a reporter who questioned her about President Donald Trump’s “political speech in the Rose Garden” by asking him to read the Hatch Act.
Trump’s Tuesday Rose Garden speech was criticized by CNN’s Jim Acosta and others as more of a campaign-style speech than a press conference.
“I have a question that flows from two events that we saw recently that we wouldn’t have seen in previous White Houses,” the reporter said during Thursday’s White House press conference. “The first was the campaign meeting last month, and then the political speech in the Rose Garden.”
“Can you talk about your understanding of what the White House policy is?” he continued. “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 draw the line?”
“We act in accordance with the Hatch Act,” McEnany responded. “It’s well-established that the president and the 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 Hatch Act has nothing to do with this though,” the reporter claimed.
“What? It has everything to do with this,” McEnancy insisted. “Go read the Hatch Act. That’s why what you’re alleging is problematic for the president. No, your real problem was the fact that the president gave a very good powerful speech from the Rose Garden.” (RELATED: ‘Well That Was Quite The Mic Drop’: Harris Faulkner Reacts After Kayleigh McEnany Scolds Reporters)
The Hatch Act of 1939, An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a federal law designed to prohibit executive branch employees from engaging in political activity. It expressly excludes the president, vice president and some high-level officials.