On Thursday, Conway came under fire after a federal watchdog called on her to be fired due to alleged violations of the Hatch Act of 1939, which doesn’t allow executive branch employees, besides some exemptions, to engage in political activities, as IJR News reported.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) cited violations of “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”
However, Trump made it clear during Friday’s “Fox & Friends” interview that he doesn’t plan to boot Conway — who was also the campaign manager for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign — from her White House role.
“It looks to me like they’re trying to take away her right of free speech and that’s just not fair,” the president responded, adding that he wondered if federal officials are supposed to say “I can’t answer” every time they are asked a question during an interview.
He doubled down that it “really sounds, to me, like a free speech thing.”
When asked directly if he will fire Conway, he responded, “No, I’m not going to fire her. I think she’s a terrific person.”
See the president’s comments below:
President Trump tells Fox & Friends exclusively that he does not plan to fire Kellyanne Conway
Posted by Fox & Friends on Friday, June 14, 2019
As IJR Red previously noted, multiple White House officials responded on Thursday to the OSC’s letter requesting Conway’s removal.
White House deputy press secretary Steven Groves had a similar response to the president pointing to free speech, as he called the alleged violations “deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process.”
The White House also called for the OSC’s report to be retracted.
Under the Obama administration, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro was also accused of violating the Hatch Act, in 2016, by “advocating for and against Presidential candidates while giving a media interview.”
“Secretary Castro’s statements during [a televised] interview impermissibly mixed his personal political views with official agency business despite his efforts to clarify that some answers were being given in his personal capacity,” the OSC letter reads.
However, when pressed about the violations during a Fox News town hall on Thursday, 2020 Democratic candidate Castro instead pointed to a difference in the two’s behaviors over the violations, IJR Red also reported.