Cicilline Bill Prohibits Use of White House for Political Conventions

Oct 23, 2020

PAWTUCKET – Following President Trump’s outrageous decision to accept the 2020 Republican nomination from the South Lawn of the White House, Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) Chair David N. Cicilline (RI-01) today introduced legislation that will prevent future presidents from abusing their public office for political gain.

“More than any president in modern times, Donald Trump has used and abused his office to benefit his re-election campaign. Each day, it seems, he pushes past a new boundary,” said Cicilline. “The White House is not a political prop. It belongs to the American people. Donald Trump doesn’t get that. His actions make clear that we need to rewrite the ethics laws to prohibit future presidents from using the White House and other taxpayer-funded buildings or vehicles for political purposes.”

The White House is Not a Political Prop Act makes clear that it is unlawful for the President of the United States to use Federal property for campaign activities. The bill would prohibit actions like hosting a political convention from the White House, giving a campaign speech from the White House Press Briefing Room, or using Air Force One as a backdrop for a campaign rally.

In August, shortly before Trump accepted the Republican nomination, Vice President Mike Pence delivered his own acceptance speech from the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. First Lady Melania Trump also spoke from the Rose Garden during a convention that helped the Republican Party raise $76 million.

Observers denounced Trump’s decision to deliver his acceptance speech with the Truman Balcony as a backdrop, calling it a “gross misuse of public resources” that turned federal employees, including Marine guards, “into props.” Cicilline’s bill, which has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, would block future commanders-in-chief from wantonly abuse their office in a similar manner.

The full text of Cicilline’s bill is available here.