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Have members of President Trump’s administration been violating the Hatch Act at the Republican National Convention? His chief of staff argues no — and that most people don’t really care, anyway.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows spoke to Politico on Wednesday after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received heavy criticism for speaking at the Republican convention from Jerusalem, with critics saying he and other officials were violating the Hatch Act, which restricts federal employees’ ability to engage in political activities in their official capacity.

Meadows pushed back on this criticism, asserting that Pompeo was acting in his personal capacity and saying he has a “different philosophy” on the Hatch Act than others, arguing that it’s intended to ensure government officials don’t “use their political position to try to convince” other federal employees to vote or campaign a certain way.

Aside from this, though, Meadows echoed an argument controversially laid out in Politico‘s Playbook that most people aren’t concerned about this.

“Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares,” Meadows said. “They expect that Donald Trump is going to promote Republican values, and they would expect that Barack Obama, when he was in office, that he would do the same for Democrats. And so, listen, this is a lot of hoopla that is being made about things mainly because the convention has been so unbelievably successful.”

Earlier in the conversation, Meadows told Politico he would be talking in his “personal capacity” and putting on his “political hat” during the interview, hoping to avoid “everybody tweeting at me that I’m violating the Hatch Act.” Given that his comments quickly drew criticism while the phrase “Hatch Act” trended on Twitter, that mission may not have been a success. Brendan Morrow



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