As Donald Trump’s scandals have grown worse than ever these past couple weeks, Melania Trump has seemed to be trying to lay low of late. But even as Melania continues to carefully say nothing at all about the attempted rape accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, or the Paul Manafort plea deal, or Michael Cohen’s cooperation in dismantling the Trump Organization, it turns out Melania’s spokesperson is the one who’s suddenly in the midst of a scandal.
Melania Trump’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham posted this tweet awhile back: “Three years ago today I listened to my gut & joined the Trump team in #PHX … & life has never been the same. So proud to work for both @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & @FLOTUS #MAGA.” That tweet was in fact a violation of the Hatch Act, a federal law which prohibits most federal government employees from promoting political candidates or campaigns during election season.
Today the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (which to be clear has nothing to do with Special Counsel Robert Mueller) sent a formal warning letter to Grisham, informing her that she did in fact violate the law with her tweet. The Hatch Act isn’t exactly punitive in nature. The worst that can happen to you is that you forfeit your government salary, or you get fired. Because this was her first offense, according to Newsweek, she simply received an official warning letter. This nonetheless matters, because it means she’ll have to be very careful with her words and tweets for the rest of the election season, or she could end up summarily terminated – and Melania wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
Yes, this is a minor scandal in comparison to the various major and potentially history-making scandals that are playing out in the other corners of the Donald Trump regime. But it’s even more bad press for Team Trump at a time when the last thing they need is another scandal. It’s also an important reminder that someone is still in fact minding the store when it comes to curtailing the abuses being carried out by Trump’s underlings.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report