Nov 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump campaign to run election night war room on White House grounds

The Eisenhower Executive Office Building
The Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Photo: Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump campaign will run its election night war room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, located steps from the West Wing, the campaign confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The decision to move the main political operation from the campaign's headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, to the White House complex is the latest example of the Trump administration blurring the lines between governing and political activity.

What they're saying: “The war room needed to be in close proximity to the president and there is no expense whatsoever to American taxpayers for the use of a room in the EEOB, where events like prayer services and receptions for outside groups frequently occur," Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told Axios.

  • "Every piece of equipment, including WiFi and computers, was paid for by the campaign, and no White House staff is involved. The arrangement has been approved by White House counsel.”
  • The New York Times' Maggie Haberman first reported this development.

Flashback: The decision to host Trump's acceptance speech during the Republican National Convention from the White House South Lawn served as one of the most blatant examples of the blurring of staged campaign-style events and official business of governing on White House premises. It violated traditional norms and, many critics argue, was in violation of the Hatch Act.

The Republican National Committee also moved its war room from its headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. to an undisclosed location in the city, citing security concerns over potential civil unrest, two sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

  • One official said the war room will not be at the White House or the Trump Hotel, but did not want to share the location given the security precautions.

This story has been updated to reflect the RNC's election night plans.

Go deeper