White House press secretary invokes Hatch Act amid political musings at the podium
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday referenced the Hatch Act while speaking on political topics in a manner that teetered on direct campaigning, which the law forbids.
The Hatch Act bars administration officials, with the significant exceptions of the president and vice president, from engaging in direct political activity.
"There is the Hatch Act. I am restricted on what I can say from the podium and from here," Jean-Pierre said, according to the Washington Examiner. The press secretary went on to tout the Democratic Party's record while in the majority and to discuss abortion and healthcare issues in the context of an "extreme Republican" agenda.
"The president takes what he has done in this time during his presidency, his tenure — just about 20-months tenure — very seriously and wants to talk about what he has done, what congressional Democrats have done to deliver for the American people," she asserted. "Yes, there is a lot at stake when you think about the national ban on abortion that Republicans — extreme Republicans want to do, taking away the rights of women, taking away a decision that is very difficult for women to make... They want to take that away."
Biden's previous press secretary, Jen Psaki, faced a Hatch Act violation in 2021, when she weighed in on the gubernatorial contest in Virginia, expressing support for the Terry McAuliffe campaign.
"We're going to do everything we can to help former Gov. McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he's representing," she said, per the Examiner.