The White House appears to be blowing off its own internal watchdog by continuing to use the term “MAGA” in official communications despite warnings that staffers who do so are violating the Hatch Act, according to an Axios report.
“MAGA Republicans” has become a staple boogeyman of the Biden administration as it continues to navigate a porous southern border, an uncertain economic outlook and topless transgender activists on the White House lawn.
However, the White House’s use of the term appears to go against federal election rules. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) warned the Biden administration that using the term “MAGA” in an official capacity violates the Hatch Act.
“Accordingly, federal employees should not use ‘MAGA’ or ‘Make America Great Again’ while on duty, in the workplace, or when acting in their official capacity, including communicating through social media, email, or on government websites,” it continued.
The excuses were quick to roll out, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claiming at the podium they “didn’t know” the term was not kosher for official events. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates sent a memo around Wednesday that continued to use the term, Axios reported. Bates claimed in the memo that the “main economic agenda item” of Republicans is “MAGA tax welfare for the richest Americans and giant corporations, at the expense of continuing to grow our economy by investing in America.”
Bates previously paid lip service to the law while taking aim at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the pronunciation of the Republican presidential candidate’s name. “We follow the Hatch Act. So we don’t DEE-rectly comment on 2024,” the White House spokesman tweeted. “Am I saying that right? It’s pronounced DEE-rectly?”
“The opinion that was presented by OSC happened just last week, which is — it occurred months after the briefing where I made those comments. So, basically it is retroactive,” she added. “We did not know their opinion when we were given the green light to say the comments that I made.”
White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates sent a memo around Wednesday that continued to use the term “MAGA,” claiming in the memo that the “main economic agenda item” of Republicans is “MAGA tax welfare for the richest Americans and giant corporations, at the expense of continuing to grow our economy by investing in America.” (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
When asked for comment, Bates pointed to Jean-Pierre’s remarks.
Later on in the day, Bates released another memo using the term “MAGA” and taking aim at House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and the Republican Study Committee (RSC), claiming they are attempting “to defund Medicare benefits while pushing giant tax cuts for the rich.”
“Because Ms. Jean‐Pierre made the statements while acting in her official capacity, she violated the Hatch Act prohibition against using her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election,” the agency wrote in a letter to the White House dated June 7.
Jean‐Pierre herself has frequently cited the Hatch Act to avoid questions relating to Biden’s election campaign and others. She reiterated on Tuesday that following federal law was a top priority for the White House.
Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.