President Donald Trump’s campaign “war room” and the Republican National Committee (RNC) moved their headquarters on election night, citing possible unrest and security concerns.
The RNC moved its election activities to an “unknown location” on Tuesday night, fearing that the late election results could lead to violent protests or general civil unrest throughout Washington, D.C. The Trump campaign simultaneously moved its most important political operation from Arlington, Virginia, to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, part of the larger White House complex.
The campaign’s retreat to a government building located only a few feet from the West Wing, as reported in the New York Times, sparked the most recent criticism of the administration, casually blurring the lines between party political activity and governance.
Two sources familiar with the RNC’s last-minute withdrawal from its headquarters in downtown Washington said it was triggered by the potential threat of civil unrest, Axios’ Alayna Treene reported. The RNC is now set up for the rest of the election process in an “undisclosed location”.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told The Times in a statement that its war room “must be in the immediate vicinity of the President and American taxpayers will not incur any costs for the use of a room in the EEOB, where events such as prayer services and receptions for outside groups are often held”.
Several news agencies reported on Monday that activists from Black Lives Matter and Shutdown DC expect to draw thousands of protesters into the area if Trump rejects the election results or if former Vice President Joe Biden has clearly lost the election.
“I’m not yet thinking about a concession speech or a thank-you speech,” Trump said during a stop to speak to RNC staff at their offices in Arlington, Virginia on Tuesday afternoon before the move. “Winning is easy. Losing is never easy – not for me, it isn’t.
Peter Newsham, the head of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, wrote a letter to the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Monday, denouncing violence and destruction of property, but promising to protect the right to peaceful protest under the First Amendment.
The Trump campaign’s move to the new Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) was criticized by some former government ethics officials as a violation of the Hatch Act. The EEOB is part of the larger White House property and is intended for use by the president’s executive office only, not for political campaigning activities.
“The argument that the Trumpers put forward when they defiled the White House for the RNC was that they only used rooms that are not normally used for official business. Now that they have fully intimidated the @US_OSC, they have even given up this pretext. They’re just torching the law,” Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, tweeted on Tuesday night.
Critics in the social media immediately blew up the last minute trains of the RNC and Trump campaign in hidden places.
“They’re pulling out,” tweeted one person. “First they moved the party’s venue. Then they reduced the party guests from 400 to 250, and now they are moving the war room to the White House. What happens next? Bunkers?”
Washington Newsday asked both the RNC and Trump campaigns for additional comments on Tuesday night….