President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE said Friday he will not fire Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayPsaki defends move to oust Trump appointees from military academy boards Defense & National Security: The post-airlift evacuation struggle Conway and Spicer fire back at White House over board resignation requests MORE as White House counselor for violating the Hatch Act, rebuking the recommendation of a top federal watchdog.
“No, I’m not going to fire her. I think she’s a terrific person,” Trump said during a call-in interview on “Fox & Friends.”
The president’s comments came one day after the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) publicly said Conway should be removed from office, calling her a “repeat offender” who has flouted the law barring federal employees from engaging in political activity in their official duties.
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Trump said he will “get a very strong briefing” on Conway’s Hatch Act violations, but suggested he will not recommend that she change her behavior.
“It looks to me they’re trying to take away her right from free speech and that’s just not fair,” he said.
A 17-page report submitted to the White House found that Conway violated the law in more than half a dozen television interviews and tweets by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity.”
The White House argued the OSC applied the law too broadly and violated Conway's First Amendment rights. The Hatch Act bars the vast majority of federal employees from using their “official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.” It was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1947 and 1973.
Updated at 9:07 a.m.