After repeated shuffling of the locale for this year's Republican National Convention, the GOP—like its Democratic counterpart—opted for a mostly virtual convention.
A major controversy sparked when President Donald Trump announced that he'd be accepting the party's nomination for President on the South Lawn of the White House, spurring numerous concerns about potential Hatch Act violations.
The Hatch Act forbids most government officials from using their offices to benefit campaigns for office or other purely political actions. It doesn't apply to the President or Vice President, but it does apply to his officials, such as Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, who performed a naturalization ceremony for the convention.
And on the final night of the convention, Americans across the country were disturbed to see the White House—paid for by Americans of all political ideologies—decorated with Trump 2020 paraphernalia for a Republican convention.
Among those disgusted was the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics—Walter Shaub—who served under Trump for the President's first year in office.
Shaub called the action a "civic equivalent to a mortal sin."
This abomination may be the most visible misuse of official position for private gain in America's history. It is an abuse of the power entrusted to this man, the breach of a sacred trust. It is the civic equivalent of a mortal sin—maybe a religious one too. And it is a harbinger pic.twitter.com/UryxiQTyv0
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) August 28, 2020
He wasn't the only one who was discomforted by the sight.
A modest gathering on the South Lawn of the White House where Ronald Reagan greeted Gorbachev. Bill Clinton brokered peace and a handshake between Rabin and Arafat. And Donald Trump held a political convention... pic.twitter.com/58PpMOoKki
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) August 28, 2020
Democracy dies on the White House lawn pic.twitter.com/IArigh4h56
— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@MollyJongFast) August 28, 2020
It's a sight I never before imagined: the South Lawn of the White House transformed into the stage of a political convention. pic.twitter.com/Yurupt3Zse
— jonkarl (@jonkarl) August 27, 2020
I don't care how many nakedly partisans signs they put out on the White House South Lawn—that place belongs to the People, not any political party or politician, and the president is only an invited guest.
— Tony West (@tonywest) August 28, 2020
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.
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) August 28, 2020
My blood is boiling over political banners at the White House. Awful. Just awful.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) August 28, 2020
Adding to the concerns were the 1000+ people flouting pandemic guidelines as the American death toll nears 190 thousand.
180,000 people dead. I've been in my house for 6 months, and you pull this s--t on the White House lawn? pic.twitter.com/h9rzbIEQfM
— Josh Busby (@busbyj2) August 28, 2020
The operatic ending, the fireworks and the 1,000 people elbow-to-elbow on the White House South lawn (masks optional) during the greatest pandemic of our time really completed "the band playing while the Titanic sinks" vibe of the RNC.
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) August 28, 2020
Millions of Americans sick with a deadly virus, tens of millions unemployed, and the President is celebrating his nomination with a fireworks display on the White House lawn.
Feels like we might see this footage in some ads! https://t.co/BIh7e268vF
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) August 28, 2020
When asked about possible Hatch Act violations, the President's chief of staff said, "nobody outside the Beltway really cares."