White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and other White House officials have recently been warned by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that using the term "MAGA" in public correspondence is a violation of the Hatch Act, which seeks to prevent public officials from having influence on an election.
However, the White House seemingly ignored the very serious warning, with officials recently using the Trumpian term in statements. Now, a former ethics chief for President George W. Bush and one-time Democratic Sentate candidate believes that continued usage of the term should bring repercussions in the way of firings.
According to Fox News, Richard Painter told the outlet that he believes White House officials continuing to use the term, which means "Make America Great Again," is "a terrible, terrible idea."
He added that he believes the Biden officials should end the use of the term "immediately."
"I think that’s critically important that they stop doing it," Painter said.
NEW: Ethics expert Richard Painter, who ran for Congress as a Democrat last cycle, on @WhiteHouse officials seeming to shrug off the Hatch Act: "If the Office of Special Counsel says they need to stop doing it, that means they need to stop doing it, and we can't have them…
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) June 16, 2023
Painter added: "If the Office of Special Counsel says they need to stop doing it, that means they need to stop doing it, and we can't have them flipping the bird at this. They've got to comply with the Office of Special Counsel’s interpretation of the Hatch Act."
Painter explained that repeated violations of the Hatch Act can trigger a process for the removal of a federal official.
"If someone keeps doing it when they’re told not to do it, they should get fired," Painter said. "Or if they engage in a serious act of the Hatch Act one time, they should be fired."
Fox noted that the primary usage of the term comes in the form of "MAGA Republicans." During recent White House press briefings, KJP has repeatedly used the phrase from behind the podium.
The OSC originally issued the stern warning on the grounds that "MAGA remains the campaign slogan of a current candidate for partisan political office, and therefore, its use constitutes political activity."
The US Office of Special Counsel concluded that @PressSec Karine Jean-Pierre violated the Hatch Act last year regarding her comments about “mega MAGA Republican officials.”@US_OSC said her comments were an “inappropriate attempt to influence the vote.” https://t.co/iZqMnMEsca
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) June 13, 2023
"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," the OSC said at the time.
If KJP and other White House officials continue to violate the warning, only time will tell if they're actually held accountable, which many have extreme doubts about.