Make the Hatch Act Great Again. Wouldn't it be great to return to the days when the biggest public concern about the White House is about a staffer shilling for a commercial product?
Clueless Ivanka Trump, who somehow doesn’t see nepotism in her selection as a White House adviser, mugged for the camera on July 15, while holding a can of Goya beans, for a picture on her Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds. That promo followed kind words about her dad from the CEO of the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the US.
Ethics experts say Ivanka violated the Hatch Act's ban on public figures using their office to endorse or promote a product or service.
And of course, scandal-loving Team Trump took it up a notch, with the president putting a line-up of Goya products on his desk in the Oval Office and giving them two thumbs-ups.
Sadly, the Hatch Act is small potatoes when the White House denies the reality of a global pandemic, fails to express any empathy for the families of the 135K-plus Americans killed by COVID-19, plays footsy with Vladimir Putin by taking no action against him for putting bounties on the heads of American soldiers, dishes out lie after lie after lie (e.g., the Washington Post has counted more than 20K so far), tears mothers away from their children, guts environmental regulations, begs China for help in the upcoming election, and pardons Roger Stone, who was convicted of obstructing a Congressional probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
A Joe Biden presidency would certainly restore luster to the Hatch Act.
The White House has finally found a press secretary who tells it like it is. The incomparable Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on July 16 that Donald Trump wants schools to open hell or high water in the fall and won't let any inconvenient science stand in the way.
“The President has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open... and when he says ‘open’ he means open and full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school,” McEnany said at a press briefing. “The science should not stand in the way of this.”
Realizing she committed the mortal sin of Team Trump, which is telling the truth, McEnany then went into full magical thinking mode. “The science is on our side here, and we encourage localities and states to just simply follow the science," she said. "Open our schools. It’s very damaging to our children."
As McEnany hustled to return to Trump's honor roll of sycophants, the Center for Public Integrity released a White House coronavirus task force report, warning that 18 states are in the "red zone" for COVID-19, meaning they should go into lockdown mode.
Those school bells aren't going to be ringing any day soon.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper is all over news that Russia paid Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. He's tracking down leakers, not Russians.
He promises to figure out who in the Pentagon leaked the information to the press. My hunch: a patriot either amazed or embarrassed that the Trump administration failed to take action against Russia.
The defense secretary is pretty defenseless about his inaction on bounties. He opts for a semantics game. He denies seeing the word "bounty" in any report, though he did see words about Russia making payments to militants to kill Americans in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is tipping off staffers to see if the information winds up in the press.
It's the ultimate game of "gotcha."
Esper and Meadows should worry more about what the administration does or fails to do, rather than how things play out in the press.