WH: Naturalization Ceremony At RNC Didn’t Violate Hatch Act Because It Was ‘Publicly Available Content’

(Screencap: RNC/YouTube)

The White House insisted on Tuesday that the Trump administration’s naturalization ceremony at the Republican National Convention (RNC) that night wasn’t a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits executive government officials from participating in political activity while on duty.

“The White House publicized the content of the event on a public website this afternoon and the campaign decided to use the publicly available content for campaign purposes,” a White House official told TPM in an emailed statement sent on Wednesday morning. “There was no violation of law.”

Critics sounded the alarm on Tuesday after President Donald Trump and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf held a naturalization ceremony for five candidates at the White House in the middle of the convention.

“On behalf of everyone here today, I’d like to express my gratitude to you, Mr. President, for hosting this naturalization ceremony here at the White House,” Wolf told Trump before administering the Oath of Allegiance.

Afterward, Wolf praised Trump’s “dedication to the rule of law.”

“Mr. President, I want to again commend you for your dedication to the rule of law and for restoring integrity to our immigration system,” the administration official told Trump. “Thank you for hosting such a patriotic celebration here at the White House today.”

The ceremony was one of several incidents at the convention that raised concerns over Trump and his administration using the powers of the federal government for political purposes. Other potential violations of the Hatch Act on Tuesday included Trump issuing a presidential pardon for an RNC speaker and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo giving his remarks from Jerusalem.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: