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Thune at odds with Trump on White House acceptance speech

August 7, 2020 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. John Thune, of South Dakota, is at odds with President Donald Trump on whether the president’s nomination acceptance speech during the Republican National Convention should be delivered from the White House.

The president recently said he was considering the possibility. But using the Rose Garden, the Executive Mansion or even the Oval Office as the backdrop for his speech capping the Aug. 24-27 convention would mark an unprecedented use of federal property for partisan political purposes.

Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, noted that even though Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are exempt from the Hatch Act which limits partisan activity by federal employees, those employees must refrain from participating in such political activity.

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Ethics experts say presidential staffers working to pull off the event would be in jeopardy. Thune says anything done “on federal property would seem to be problematic.”

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