'If a Democratic president did this, all of us conservatives would explode in rage.'
Condemnation of the final night of the Republican National Convention rolled in Thursday night from a bipartisan array of critics, who said Donald Trump's use of the White House lawn for personal political gain was out of bounds and wrong.
"Trust me, my friends: If a Democratic president did this, all of us conservatives would explode in rage — this usurpation, this defilement of the people's house — and we'd be right," Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor of the conservative National Review magazine, tweeted Thursday night.
The White House, a taxpayer-funded building that past presidents have gone out of their way to avoid politicking from, was the location for the last night of the four-day GOP convention. Both Republicans and Democrats reacted in horror as hundreds of maskless revelers packed together on the White House lawn in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and as speakers distorted the truth and praised Trump.
"Absolutely revolting!" John Dean, Richard Nixon's White House counsel, tweeted of the image of the White House lawn converted into a convention space. "So unbelievably crass and tasteless. It doesn't even need a TRUMP sign hosted on it to be grotesque. It takes a lot of sleaze to take away the majesty of this historic site but Donald has done it."
Democrats, too, criticized the event, both for using the White House for political messaging and for making a mockery of coronavirus regulations meant to stop the spread of the deadly virus that has thus far killed more than 180,000 people in the United States.
"The White House is not the property of Donald Trump or the Republican Party, it belongs to the American people," Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) tweeted. "These actions cheapen the office and degrade the nation. This convention, like the person at its core, is fundamentally corrupt."
Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) called the last night of the GOP convention a "#superspreader at tax payer expense."
The speeches at the White House capped off a four-day event in which Republicans engaged in numerous violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from campaigning in their official capacity or from federal property.
Notable violations included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressing the GOP convention on a taxpayer-funded trip to Israel, and acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf — who a government watchdog said is serving illegally in his role — holding a naturalization ceremony filmed to air at the convention.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.