Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro (D), took part in a town hall hosted by Fox News in Tempe, Arizona.
In the town hall, Castro commented on a recent recommendation from the Office of Special Counsel, which suggested that White House adviser Kellyanne Conway should be fired for violating the Hatch Act.
Agreeing with the suggestion from the OSC, a spotlight shone on Castro who also violated the Hatch Act in 2016.
To begin with, the Hatch Act is a federal law that limits political activities of certain federal employees.
In a letter written by the OSC and directed to President Obama at the time, it’s explained that the “OSC concluded that Secretary Castro violated the Hatch Act by advocating for and against Presidential candidates.”
Elaborating on the accusation, the letter detailed that “Secretary Castro’s statements during [a televised] interview impermissible mixed his personal political views with official agency business despite his efforts to clarify that some answers were being given in his personal capacity.”
The incident in question took place during an interview with Katie Couric, who was questioning him about HUD policy.
In responding to Couric, Castro stated that “now, taking off my HUD hat for a second and just speaking individually, it is very clear that Hillary Clinton is the most experienced, thoughtful, and prepared candidate for president that we have this year.”
In the town hall, when pressed by Bret Baier, one of the moderators, Castro defended his violation by saying it was different because it was an isolated episode that he tried to learn from.
In his explanation, Castro detailed that “instead of saying, ‘look, I’m going to take these efforts to make sure that doesn’t happen again,’ she said, ‘To hell with that, I’m going to keep doing it.’ They said she had repeatedly done that. That’s the difference.”
Furthermore, Castro explained that he doesn’t “think we’re gonna find anybody either in this race, or in our homes or in our communities, that’s never made mistakes. The true test of a leader is, what do you do when you make that mistake? Are you big enough to own up to it and then make sure you correct what you do in the future, or do you do, basically, what she did, and say, ‘No, I’m bigger than that?’”