President Donald Trump said on Thursday he planned to give his acceptance speech for the presidential nomination at this month's Republican Party convention from the White House lawn, the New York Post reported on Thursday night.
'I'll probably be giving my speech at the White House because it is a great place. It's a place that makes me feel good, it makes the country feel good,' the Post quoted Trump as saying in an interview.
'We'd do it possibly outside on one of the lawns, we have various lawns, so we could have it outside in terms of the China virus,' Trump said.
President Trump has confirmed he will give his nomination speech to the Republican National Convention from the White House lawn. He is pictured in 2016 after accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio
Both the Republican and Democratic Parties have scaled back their traditional multi-day conventions in view of social distancing guidelines in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump last week proposed accepting the Republican nomination for the November 3rd election in a speech from the White House, prompting accusations by senior Democrats that he was politicizing the historic residence.
Earlier this week he floated the idea of delivering the speech at the site of the Civil War battleground in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Trump said he would visit Gettysburg later, according to the Post.
President Trump teased giving his speech at Gettysburg, the site of site of the bloodiest battle of Civil War and where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous address
'Gettysburg is special. I will be doing something at Gettysburg, it may be something different, not for the convention,' he said.
'We're going to be doing something terrific at Gettysburg but when it gets a little bit cooler because now it's, you know, it's August 27, so that's pretty hot out there,' he continued.
'We're going to do something, I love Pennsylvania and I love Gettysburg, so we're going to do something in Gettysburg at a little bit later date,' he said.
Noting that the White House lawn is large, Trump said, 'We could have a big group of people' for the speech.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the country's leading elected Democrat, said last week that Trump would once again 'degrade the White House' by using it for a political event.
A painting of Abraham Lincoln giving his Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. Donald Trump has said he will return to Gettysburg at a later date
'Whether it's legally wrong or ethically out of the question, it shouldn't even have been something that was expressed,' Pelosi told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.
Some Republican lawmakers also spoke out against Trump's plan for a White House speech. Senator Ron Johnson said Trump 'probably shouldn't do it.'
Using the South Lawn of the White House was met with objections from Democrats and Republicans alike because of the Hatch Act.
The law prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities while working. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are exempt from the law but White House staffers - who are federal employees - are not.
Trump's speech is scheduled for the final day of the August 24-27 Republican convention. He said last week that media would be invited to a 'nomination night' in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The South Lawn at the White House makes a spectacular stage for speeches, but there are limits on campaign activity allowed
The Republican National Convention was initially slated for Charlotte, North Carolina, before Trump moved it to Jacksonville, Florida, in June, in hopes the Republican-led state would be more amenable to his aim of having thousands of mask-less supporters cheering his renomination. But as a wave of new coronavirus cases swept the Sun Belt, Trump was forced to cancel those proceedings last month.
Trump is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in opinion polls.
Biden will accept his nomination in an address from his home state of Delaware rather than in Milwaukee as previously planned.
The Democratic convention will run, mostly virtually, from August 17-20.