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Manchin, Capito disagree on Trump’s use of White House

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito disagree of President Donald Trump’s use of the White House property for his acceptance speech Thursday night to end the Republican National Convention.

Manchin fired off a pair of tweets Friday afternoon.

“I was appalled to see our nation’s prized monuments used for a political rally last night. Our White House and National Mall belong to the American people, not the Republican, Democratic or any political party,” Manchin wrote.

Capito, who was in attendance along with her husband Charlie, said she was comfortable with the choice of the White House Rose Garden because of how different both political conventions have been this year because of COVID-19.

“I feel like in order for the president to move his message the way he wanted to move it–he wanted to have more than just a teleprompter to talk to–he wanted to have people right there with him,” Capito said Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.”

In a second tweet, Manchin said Trump violated the federal Hatch Act with the event.

“Let me be clear, last night’s display was a flagrant violation of the law. We must return to a place of decency in American politics and never see a display like that again,” Manchin said.

The Office of Special Counsel which enforces the Hatch Act said earlier this week the use of the Rose Garden was not in violation.

“Under longstanding regulations governing the Hatch Act, there are certain areas of the White House where the Hatch Act does not prohibit federal employees from engaging in political activity. The South Lawn and Rose Garden are two such areas.”

Capito admitted the choice was unprecedented and doesn’t know if it will ever be repeated.

“I’m imagining the legalities of this were fully vetted at the White House and that’s why they decided to go forward,” Capito said.

There’s also been criticism of the size of the crowd, about 1,500 people, and the lack of social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Capito said she and her husband had their masks on the entire time but were probably in the minority.

“We had our’s on because we are respectful of the mask mandate. We believe in it,” Capito said.

She said she was not fearful of being there.

“I was protecting not just myself but protecting other people from me if I were to have the unfortune of having it,” Capito said.

Capito said before the event organizers advised those who weren’t feeling well not to attend and to respect social distancing. She said there was a lot of hand sanitizer available.

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