▶ Watch Video: Chief of staff Mark Meadows on Trump’s RNC speech, stimulus talks and Kellyanne Conway’s departure

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is pushing back against criticism of President Trump’s decision to give his Thursday Republican National Convention speech from the White House, calling it Mr. Trump’s way of “connecting with the American people.”

The move raised ethics concerns among top Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but the president himself defended the choice of the location by telling the New York Post earlier this month it would be a “tremendous saving in cost” and is the easiest option for law enforcement and the Secret Service.

On “CBS This Morning” on Monday, Meadows said picking the White House wasn’t about convenience, but he also cited the “unprecedented time” as a driving factor behind the unusual decision. “I think it’s about for most people wanting to understand and hear from the president of the United States on what he’s going to do to for them to make sure that the next four years continue to build on the last four years,” Meadows said.

When asked by co-host Tony Dokoupil whether the speech is “mixing the official taxpayer business of this country with the reelection business of the Republican Party,” Meadows denied it.

“This is about a message on what the president will do and what he can do and has done for the American people,” he said. “It’s about promises that were kept, the people that have been affected and ultimately the promises that will be acted upon in the next four years. So I don’t see a mixture of it.”

Meadows compared Mr. Trump’s speech to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s acceptance of the Democratic nomination in 1940 for his third term — what Meadows called “another unprecedented time.”

“It’s actually coming from the White House lawn, as you know. And so it’s not an address from the Oval Office like Franklin Delano Roosevelt did so many years ago,” he said.

Meadows also took a shot at Mr. Trump’s rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, in his defense of Mr. Trump, saying the president is “willing to travel everywhere and not just convey things from a basement in Delaware.”

Biden and his campaign have pushed back on criticism from Mr. Trump and his allies and defended his decision to host virtual events because of the coronavirus pandemic in a recent interview alongside his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris.

Meadows also reacted to longtime White House aide Kellyanne Conway’s planned departure at the end of August, calling it a “big blow” but denying that it was because of the Trump campaign’s prospects.

“Kellyanne’s going to be missed. America loves her. We certainly will miss her here at the White House. But listen, this is all about making a priority for family,” he said. “… I believe if you ask Kellyanne Conway, she believes she made the right decision for her family.”

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