Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, cited the Hatch Act six times on Monday to avoid taking certain questions while simultaneously endorsing Democratic messaging for the midterm elections and criticizing Republicans.
“So I have to be careful because I can’t — we do respect the Hatch Act and our strict limits from here,” she said at Monday’s daily briefing, according to the Washington Examiner. “So, I want to be very, very careful.”
Later, at the same briefing, she explained the significance of the November elections.
“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,” Jean-Pierre said. But she wasn’t done.
“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…” the press secretary said.
Karine Jean-Pierre went on to say, “…when you think about what Republicans want to do with repealing the Inflation Reduction Act, which is going to lower costs or take away costs of what we were talking about, with lowering costs on healthcare, with lowering costs from …
“Medicare, being able to negotiate when it comes to fighting special interests,” she continued. “They want to take that away.”
“There is the Hatch Act,” Jean-Pierre said just before these campaign-like remarks, adding, “There is the Hatch Act. I am restricted on what I can say from the podium and from here.”
The majority of federal employees are prohibited from engaging in overtly partisan political activity by the Hatch Act, a 1939 piece of legislation. Its goals are to stop taxpayer money from being used for political campaigns, to fight corruption, and to make it harder for incumbents to use the full weight of the federal government to advance their political agendas.
The Hatch Act does not apply to the president or vice president.
Regarding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, and the right to an abortion, Jean-Pierre has not held back. She has expressed her political views on the subject clearly. Therefore, she reiterated, Republican politicians’ assault on women’s access to reproductive healthcare is an assault.
It is reasonable for the public to be concerned about abortion, and in some ways, Jean-Pierre is expressing the president’s viewpoint, notwithstanding the Hatch Act’s exception. However, abortion is also the key topic that Democrats intend to utilize to combat the red wave in November, and there is little difference in the way she discusses it compared to how Democrats typically talk about it during campaigns.