President Donald Trump just released his much-teased "Fake News Awards" — but they ended up on the GOP's blog, not on a White House site. There could be a legal reason for that.
Before the drop ever happened, several ethics experts noted that if White House employees were involved in whatever the spectacle might be, they could be in violation of government rules that say they can't use their office to promote any product, service or enterprise.
Politico followed up and found that the criticism might be OK if there were a valid policy reason for it. But just lamenting coverage of the president doesn't meet that standard.
Trump's "awards" came in the form of 11 stories he called "fake news." The final one was the storyline that his campaign might have colluded with Russia to win the presidential election. Of course, reporting on that story has exposed a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russians who said they had dirt on Hillary Clinton, as well as Trump's former business prospects in the country and much more.
Trump's so-called "awards" prompted some harsh criticism from members of his own party about his treatment of the media. Sen. John McCain wrote an op-ed that referenced these very "awards" headlined, "Mr. President, stop attacking the press." And then there was this from Republican Sen. Jeff Flake:
"It beggars belief that an American president would engage in such a spectacle, but here we are," Flake said on the Senate floor Wednesday.