Can bureaucrats say they support Trump? For now, yes

Trump: Media mischaracterized McCain comments
Trump: Media mischaracterized McCain comments

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Story highlights

  • Trump has already signaled to the Federal Election Commission that he plans to run for re-election in 2020
  • The US Office of Special Counsel said this week it has been flooded with questions about Trump

Washington (CNN)Federal employees who want to hang their favorite picture of President Donald Trump in their office can feel free to do so -- for now.

That's according to new guidance from the US Office of Special Counsel, which said this week it had been flooded with questions from employees curious about how much they can speak out about Trump.
Bureaucrats are in violation of the Hatch Act if they start calling for the re-election or defeat of a candidate, and Trump has already signaled to the Federal Election Commission that he plans to run for re-election in 2020, OSC said in a memo this week.
"Because the 2020 election is still more than three years away, at this time not all expressions of support or opposition to President Trump constitute political activity for purposes of the Hatch Act," the memo said. "However, the Hatch Act does prohibit federal employees, while on duty or in the workplace, from expressly advocating for or against his re-election in 2020."
Employees may hang any photograph of Trump in their office or even memorabilia from his 2016 campaign, the guidance said. But anything relating to the 2020 campaign -- say a "Re-elect Trump in 2020" sign or post on social media -- is off limits.
And once Trump formally announces his 2020 campaign? Then only official photographs are allowed and nothing that is "directed at the success or failure of his candidacy," OSC said.