In December, CREW received a first batch of emails revealing Communications Director Nicholas Goodwin directed Interior officials to promote Trump’s official twitter leading up to the 2020 presidential election. Read more here.
Now, CREW has received a second production of emails revealing that these directives were more pervasive than previously realized. Other Interior officials also issued directives to promote Trump’s handle in official Interior tweets, and even received some pushback from legal advisers on the legality of this promotion. Review the records here, here and here.
CREW is suing the Interior Department for failing to turn over records on the cost to taxpayers of Trump’s rampant use of Interior resources for self-aggrandizement. Trump’s abuse of government resources is particularly problematic because it could violate propaganda law and is part of a pattern of his use of taxpayer resources to support his re-election. Specifically, CREW is suing on two particularly egregious instances: the National Park Service’s (NPS) release of a pro-Trump propaganda video and the Interior Department’s involvement in the Republican National Convention’s (RNC) firework display.
CREW previously requested documents on these two instances of Trump’s apparently illegal self-promotion, but the Interior Department has failed to deliver records.
Trump’s unabashed use of government resources for his own political purposes is nothing new. Trump faced intense scrutiny for mobilizing federal law enforcement to remove anti-racism protesters so that he could take a propaganda photoshoot in front of a church. Trump also sparked outrage after using a scheduled pandemic press briefing to play a propaganda video in front of a captive audience of reporters touting his role in what was characterized as a successful federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. Each of these events has not only been an example of shameless self aggrandizement, but has also had an unknown monetary cost to taxpayers. While taxpayers will likely never know the full bill they’ve paid as a result of Trump’s antics, the government can and needs to be transparent as possible with taxpayers on exactly how much it is spending to bolster Trump’s propaganda, starting with Interior expenditures.
Oct 15, 2020