When former president Bill Clinton was in office, the Republican Party of the era was often aggressively outraged by campaign conduct similar to what recently took place with President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One, as detailed in an analysis by Think Progress.
As Inquisitr covered, the president may have violated two laws in a single tweet, according to government ethics and campaign finance experts, when he shared a video recorded on Air Force One criticizing new-to-the-race presidential hopeful Bill de Blasio, calling him “the worst mayor in the history of New York City.”
Paul S. Ryan, who is a different person than the former House Speaker, discussed the incident in a Washington Post interview. Ryan is part of Common Cause, which is a nonpartisan watchdog group.
Ryan called the video “entirely inappropriate.”
“[I]t is against historical norms for a president to be campaigning from Air Force One,” he said, adding that, “Most presidents have had enough respect for the office to try to separate campaigning from formal duties. Donald Trump is not such a president.”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a similar watchdog group, expressed a similar sentiment. The group demanded in a tweet that Trump prove via receipts that he had reimbursed the government for using Air Force One for a political activity, while also pointing out that it is illegal to use the presidential seal to create “a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States.”
So far, no congressional Republicans have come forward to criticize the video as a breach of ethics by the Trump administration. The GOP of the 1990s, on the other hand, seem like they could have been differently inclined.
In 1996, for example, the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity released a report documenting the top donors and fundraisers to the Democratic National Committee who were being rewarded for their contributions with stays in the White House’s Lincoln Bedroom.
Congressional Republicans of that time were outraged, calling for a special counsel investigation into then-President Clinton.
The late Senator John McCain, for one, was clear about his feelings towards such transgressions.
“[T]he president of the United States, in seeking to raise money for his re-election, was willing to use the Lincoln Bedroom, probably one of the more sacrosanct places in America, in order to gain those financial funds which he felt were necessary,” he said at the time. “And I’m deeply disappointed and I’m sure the American people will be too.”
Ultimately both the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight formally investigated the matter, in an effort that dragged on for multiple years.