Yes, Trump Can Give an Acceptance Speech on Federal Property: The FDR Precedent - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Yes, Trump Can Give an Acceptance Speech on Federal Property: The FDR Precedent
FDR acceptance speech, 1944 (Wikimedia Commons)

Here we go. Democrats, the media and even some Republicans are trying to say President Trump cannot give his acceptance speech for re-nomination from the White House because … that is federal property. Here’s but one sample story, this from over in Mediaite. The headline:

‘Is That Even Legal?’: GOP Senators Wary of Prospect Floated by Trump of Convention Speech on White House Lawn

The problem, particularly for Democrats? Giving an acceptance on federal property has already been done — by the Democrats own President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Yes, you read that right.

In 1944, FDR was famously re-nominated for an unprecedented fourth term. By the Democratic National Convention that had convened in — Chicago. The problem? FDR was not in Chicago; he was on the West Coast. He was, after all, Commander in Chief in the middle of the ongoing World War II. And when it was time for the president to give his acceptance speech — he was already en route to Pearl Harbor for a meeting with his Pacific Theater commanders. What to do?

Why, turn to a radio broadcast to accept the nomination. Biographer Nathan Miller, in his 1983 biography FDR: An Intimate History wrote the moment up this way:

Roosevelt established the theme of the campaign in his acceptance speech, broadcast from a railroad car at the San Diego naval base.

In other words, using his role as Commander in Chief, Roosevelt used federal property — a U.S. Navy base at that — to deliver his acceptance speech.

No Democrats complained. And no, Republican Senators Thune, Cornyn, Romney, and Johnson — no Republican complained either. Much less was FDR accused of breaking the law.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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