MSNBC's Joy Reid Chides RNC, Trump for Using White House: 'These Are Not Monarchs'

MSNBC host Joy Reid has compared President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to "monarchs" for using the White House as a backdrop during the RNC. The move was one of what some say were several violations of the Hatch Act during the event.

The Quote

Speaking on MSNBC, Reid said Tuesday night:

"I was really struck tonight, and I have to say not in a good way, by the use and, in my view, misuse of the White House. They surrounded themselves with the trappings of the power that in theory they were given by the American people. These are not monarchs. This is not their property. You know, this was not an episode of Cribs. I didn't need Melania Trump strolling down the galley way as if she'd just come from the living room in her home. But they have used the property of the American people, these sacred properties, that are owned by the American people, for politics tonight in a way that I think is offensive, I think is wrong."

Why it Matters

The RNC is taking place right now as the Trump campaign fights against a tide of polling that shows the incumbent is losing, by some distance, to Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

On Tuesday evening, Melania Trump delivered her RNC speech from the White House Rose Garden to a crowd of people that included the president and officials from his Administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the RNC in a pre-recorded speech from Jerusalem while on official duties. The RNC also featured a presidential pardon and a naturalization ceremony led by Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf.

The RNC's use of official ceremonies and the White House as a backdrop led to accusations that Trump and the GOP were violating the Hatch Act of 1939, which puts strict limitations on the use of government property or other resources for political purposes.

According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which enforces the Hatch Act: "Except for the President and Vice President, all federal civilian executive branch employees are covered by the Hatch Act, including employees of the U.S. Postal Service."

Walter Shaub, an Obama-era director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, tweeted: "The Hatch Act was the wall standing between the government's might and candidates.

"Tonight a candidate tore down that wall and wielded power for his own campaign. Citizen Trump is no longer presenting himself as a candidate. Now your government is telling you who should rule you."

House Democrats have already pledged to investigate Pompeo's speech as a potential violation of the Hatch Act.

The Counterpoint

White House spokesman Judd Deere told The Washington Post: "RNC Convention events will be planned and executed, at whatever the venue, by the Trump Campaign and RNC. Any government employees who may participate will do so in compliance with the Hatch Act."

The White House had also denied that its use of a naturalization ceremony in particular during the RNC violated the Hatch Act.

It argued that 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," per the Wall Street Journal.

Melania Trump Donald RNC White House
U.S. President Donald Trump stands by first lady Melania Trump as she waves after she addressed the Republican National Convention from the Rose Garden at the White House on August 25, 2020 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images