Trump Campaign’s Use of White House Complex for Election Night ‘War Room’ Ignites Online Fury: ‘Criming From Day One to the End’

Trump Campaign

Photo credit: Scott Olson, Getty Images.

New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman reported on Tuesday that the Trump campaign will be occupying office space in the White House grounds for its Election Night “war room,” prompting a wave of online fury over the possible illegal use of government property for campaign activities.

Over the previous weekend, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign announced that it was abandoning its original plans to hold an Election Night rally in the nearby Trump International Hotel and instead would hold a private event for several hundred people on the White House grounds. That appears to have convinced the campaign to locate its headquarters at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB), which is adjacent to the White House and also part of U.S. government property.

Per Haberman, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh defended the move by saying “The war room needed to be in close proximity to the President and there is no expense whatsoever to American taxpayer for the use of a room in the EEOB, where events like prayer services and reception for outside groups frequently occur.” Haberman also reported that an unnamed “senior administration official” told her that the White House counsel’s ethics office cleared the move as not in violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits taxpayer-funded staff or equipment being used for campaign purposes.

But as Haberman also added in the Twitter thread about the move, the building, along with all the security and other infrastructure supporting it, are U.S. government property and cannot be separated out for campaign reimbursement.

This attempt by the campaign to disentangle its use of the White House grounds was met with both intense skepticism and anger online, to put it mildly.

President Barack Obama’s former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, was among the first to post a viscerally strong reaction to the news.

Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ), a vocal critic of Trump’s, did not hold back in his condemnation of the apparent Hatch Act violation as yet more evidence of the administration’s “criming.”

Other government watchdogs and critics quickly followed suit, many pointing to the normalization of the Trump campaign’s blatant disregard for election law.

Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under: