Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, has suddenly started appearing on Fox News from a set-up at President Trump’s re-election headquarters, further blurring the lines between government and political activity.
In one appearance earlier this week, in which she was announced as both a campaign senior adviser and the White House press secretary, Ms. McEnany talked up the president’s political rallies.
“At each of our rallies yesterday, I was with the president, we made three stops on Lancaster and all across the state,” she said in the interview. “And in each of those stops we played a video for the public. Joe Biden said roll the tape, President Trump. When did I say ban fracking? Well, we rolled it.”
In the interview, Ms. McEnany did not say she was speaking in a position as a campaign adviser. Nor did the campaign or the White House ever announce that she was serving in both roles. When she left the campaign to become the White House press secretary, it was not made clear that she would continue on helping the campaign.
Throughout the campaign the Trump administration has been criticized for blurring lines between government and politics and violating longstanding norms, and, in many cases, the Hatch Act, which bans political activity in the federal workplace.
At the Republican National Convention Mr. Trump delivered his acceptance speech from the South Lawn of the White House, turning the mansion into the backdrop for a political speech. The Office of the U.S. Special Counsel is investigating whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated the Hatch Act by helping the Trump campaign in the course of his official duties, including by speaking to the Republican National Convention while on a diplomatic trip to Jerusalem.
Other administrations have found ways to deal with dividing the political and the governmental, such as when President Obama was running for re-election and Jay Carney, the White House press secretary at the time, would brief reporters traveling with Mr. Obama, while a campaign official, Jennifer Psaki, would brief the reporters on behalf of the campaign, a former Obama-era aide recalled.
Ms. McEnany’s recent appearances have become an encapsulation of the administration’s willingness to blur lines.
Sarah Matthews, a White House spokeswoman, said that Ms. McEnany “appeared on Fox News and Fox Business in her personal capacity as a private citizen. She advises the campaign on a voluntary basis.” A campaign official said that shows that air interviews with her have been instructed not to use her White House title.
Mr. Trump has expressed frustration that he has few people on television defending him beyond the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows. He has noted that in 2016, his adviser Kellyanne Conway was on television constantly in the final stretch. He has also complained to aides that Ms. McEnany only goes on Fox News.