The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Donald Trump used time during his regular COVID-19 briefing on Monday to play a campaign ad for himself. Trump said that the video had been put together by White House staff — a possible violation of federal law regulating the election activities of federal employees.

Under fire for downplaying the coronavirus' risk and doing little to prepare for the pandemic, Trump made reporters watch what was effectively a campaign ad. "We have a few clips that we're just going to put up," he said, before playing a video containing clips organized and edited to blame the media for minimizing the threat of the pandemic and tout Trump's response.


After the video was over, ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl asked about its origins.

"I've never seen a video like that played in this room. It looks a bit like a campaign ad. Who produced that video for you?" he asked.

"That was done by a group in the office. And it was done by — we just put some clips together," Trump replied. He claimed that it was done "over the last two hours" by White House social media director Dan Scavino "and a group of people" to correct "fake news." Trump bragged that he had "far better" clips that had not been included.

Media Matters noted that much of the video's content was "directly lifted" from the March 26 episode of Sean Hannity's Fox News show.

Trump WH staff ad 4-13-20 from Shareblue Media on Vimeo

Both CNN and MSNBC cut away from their coverage of the briefing during the campaign video.

Democrats accused Trump of using taxpayer money for partisan purposes. "Trump used your money to produce a campaign ad, then used time reserved to update you on COVID-19 to air that ad," the Democratic National Committee charged in a tweet on Monday night.

Some observers suggested after the briefing that the staff's work producing the spot could constitute a violation of the Hatch Act, a federal law that limits federal employees' work on political campaigns. The Trump administration has frequently violated that law.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Former Attorney General William Barr

Bill Barr, the former Attorney General who served as then-President Donald Trump’s top protector, has spoken with the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), asked by CBS News about a bombshell draft executive order directing the Secretary of Defense to seize voting machines after Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, said: “We’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already. We have talked to Department of Defense individuals.”

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}