Not that another example was necessary, but the Trump administration’s blatant disregard for the rule of law was magnified anew by its response — or, rather, non-response — to violations of the federal Hatch Act by White House aide Kellyanne Conway.
Conway, one of President Donald Trump’s longest-serving and most reliable defenders, has frequently run afoul of this law, which was passed in 1939 to limit “certain political activities of federal employees.”
Among her transgressions: Using her high-profile (if ill-defined) position to repeatedly endorse political candidates, disparage Democrats and shill for the clothing line of Ivanka Trump (another high-profile White House fixture whose role is ill-defined).
Such are the number and seriousness of the violations that the federal Office of Special Counsel advised Trump that she should be fired.
“Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions,” the office — which is unaffiliated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s now-shuttered office — wrote in a letter to Trump. “Her actions erode the principal foundation of our democratic system — the rule of law.”
To which Trump responded, and we’re paraphrasing, “the rule of what now?”
“No, I’m not going to fire her,” the president said on his favorite television show, “Fox and Friends.” ‘’I think she’s a terrific person.”
In the real world, of course, Conway’s alleged terrificness would have nothing to do with her lawlessness. But in Trumpworld, the boss’s opinion is all that matters.
One can violate fellow citizens’ civil rights, be credibly charged as a predator of underage women, even meddle in this nation’s presidential elections but as long as Trump thinks you’re terrific you’ll be pardoned, endorsed and embraced.
Of course, it is unrealistic to expect a lawless and unethical president to reprimand, let alone fire, a lawless and unethical subordinate. Trump’s disregard for — or, just as likely, ignorance of — the law is such that Conway will probably get a raise.
Recall, Conway’s Office of Special Counsel rebuke came concurrently with Trump’s insistence in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulus that, were he offered dirt on a political opponent from Russia, China or any other foreign interest, he wouldn’t necessarily alert the FBI.
That’s not only dim-witted and un-American, it’s illegal.
— The York Dispatch