In news that's surprising to absolutely no one, a member of the Trump administration has been accused of abusing their power and breaking the law.
This time, it's professional liar, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the hot seat for her retaliatory tweet against the restaurant, Red Hen in Lexington, VA that refused her service. That's because the issue with Sanders tweeting about the embarrassing incident in which she was asked to leave the restaurant by its owner Stephanie Wilkinson is that she did so from her official White House Twitter account (@PressSec).
According to the The Washington Post, Wilkinson politely requested that Sanders leave the eatery because it had “certain standards” to uphold, “such as honesty and compassion and cooperation."
To her credit, Sanders left the restaurant without incident, that is until she tweeted about it in an official capacity, inviting retaliation from the pro-Trump crowd:
While some might think that Sanders was safe in doing so because she was just exercising her First Amendment rights, the fact that she criticized a private business from her @PressSec Twitter account, which has more than 3 million followers, amounts to abuse of power.
Especially in light of the fact that Sanders does have her own personal account: @SarahHuckabee. That's important because it shows that her actions appear to have been intentional with regard to using her position of power to influence people against this business—otherwise, she would have used her personal account for that tweet.
Which is why former head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, says Sanders' tweet violated ethics rules, a point he made directly to Sanders via Twitter the same day of her problematic tweet:
Shaub, who, a year ago exited the Trump administration after five years as head of the ethics office, went on to cite exactly which federal laws had been broken (5 CFR 2635.702 - Use of public office for private gain and 5 CFR 2635.101 - Basic obligation of public service) and to explain exactly how she had broken them via Twitter:
Former White House Attorney, Ian Bassin agreed with Shaub:
When asked why this tweet was different than any of those that criticize media outlets like CNN, Bassin responded:
He went on to explain it in terms we can all understand:
Which is why now, according to the Huffington Post, some are calling for a full investigation:
In an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) called upon the Office of Government Ethics to investigate Sanders for using her official Twitter account to attack the restaurant.
Though you may understand why Sanders could be confused about the ethics law since her boss, President Trump has been flouting it since day one in office, attacking over 17 different businesses online via Twitter (including Amazon.com and Nordstroms) at last count.
And it appears he just did it again this morning against the Red Hen, in defense of Sanders:
Ethics violations aside, Twitter user Andy Ostroy makes a great point:
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