“I’ll probably be giving my speech at the White House because it is a great place. It’s a place that makes me feel good, it makes the country feel good,” Trump told the New York Post, saying it would also be easiest for law enforcement and the Secret Service and would be a “tremendous saving in cost” since he lives there already.
“We’d do it possibly outside on one of the lawns, we have various lawns, so we could have it outside in terms of the China virus.”
When asked whether he would formally accept the Republican nomination for president with a crowd of supporters, Trump said, “We could have quite a group of people. It’s very big, a very big lawn. We could have a big group of people.”
Trump last week proposed accepting the Republican nomination for the Nov. 3 election in a speech from the White House, prompting accusations by senior Democrats that he was politicizing the historic residence. Earlier this week he floated the idea of the site of the Civil War battleground in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania but told The Post that he didn’t like the idea of delivering an address there in the middle of summer.
The president told the news outlet that he will visit his second choice location for the speech, Gettysburg, at a “later date.”
“Gettysburg is special. I will be doing something at Gettysburg, it may be something different, not for the convention,” he said. “We’re going to be doing something terrific at Gettysburg but when it gets a little bit cooler because now it’s, you know, it’s August 27, so that’s pretty hot out there,” he continued.
“We’re going to do something, I love Pennsylvania and I love Gettysburg, so we’re going to do something in Gettysburg at a little bit later date,” he added.
The idea of Trump delivering his convention speech from the White House received criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said it was wrong.
“Whether it’s legally wrong or ethically out of the question, it shouldn’t even have been something that was expressed,” Pelosi told MSNBC.
In an advisory opinion (pdf) issued on Aug. 12 in response to a request from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York regarding the Hatch Act, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel confirmed federal law does not preclude President Trump from delivering a speech at the White House to accept the GOP’s presidential nomination.
The Hatch Act is a federal law that governs the political activity of executive branch employees, and prohibits them from: using their official authority or influence for the purpose of affecting the result of an election; knowingly soliciting, accepting, or receiving political contributions from any person; being candidates for public office in partisan elections; and knowingly soliciting or discouraging the political activity of any individual with business before their employing office
The Hatch Act also prohibits most employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, in a government building, while wearing an official uniform or insignia, or using an official vehicle.
However, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel stated that “The President and Vice President are not covered by any of the provisions of the Hatch Act. Accordingly, the Hatch Act does not prohibit President Trump from delivering his RNC acceptance speech on White House grounds.”
However, White House employees are covered by the Hatch Act, and so there may be implications for those employees, depending on their level of involvement with the event and their position in the White House.
The Republican convention will run from Aug. 24-27 while Democrats will hold their convention from Aug. 17-20.