“No, I’m not going to fire her,” Trump told hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt. “I think she’s a terrific person, a tremendous spokesperson. She’s been loyal…I think you’re entitled to free speech in this country.”
Trump seemed to challenge the basic premise of the 1939 Hatch Act – which prohibits most employees in the executive branch of the federal government from engaging in political activity. Yesterday, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel – an independent government agency unrelated to the Mueller investigation – recommended that Conway be removed from her job for repeated violations of the Hatch Act. Numerous clips of Conway doing just that have been airing repeatedly on cable news since yesterday.
Calling in to Fox & Friends to speak on a number of his favorite topics (“No one has accomplished more in two and a half years,” Trump boasted of himself, with Doocey smiling and shaking his head in the affirmative), Trump dismissed Kilmeade’s question about Conway.
Trump said he was briefed on the Conway situation yesterday and came to the conclusion that “they’re trying to take away her right to free speech.” He also said Conway was merely answering questions from the press when she criticized Democrats. “Every time you’re supposed to say, ‘I can’t answer, I can’t answer’?”
The president also seemed to suggest that he would get another briefing, possibly today, on the matter. “I’m going to get a very strong briefing on it, so we’ll see, but it seems to me to be very unfair. It’s called freedom of speech.”
Watch the Fox & Friends segment above; the Conway discussion arrives at about the 20:13 mark.
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