For the majority of Americans, Trump and Trump’s family are setting off alarm bells with their unprecedented and unethical behavior. The nonstop insistence that the Trump campaign did nothing wrong by meeting with Russian government operatives who committed cyberattacks in an attempt to undermine American democracy by accepting what may have been illegally obtained opposition research against a political opponent has most of the country stunned, and the outgoing White House ethics chief is pulling no punches in discussing what that move has done to the credibility and standing of the United States.
Walter M. Shaub, Jr. resigned from his post as the White House ethics chief due to threats, which were repeated to a national audience without shame by former Republican National Committee chairman and current White House chief of staff Reince Priebus in an interview just before Trump’s inauguration. Priebus said:
‘The head of the government ethics ought to be careful, because that person is becoming extremely political.’
Discussing that threat, as well as the threat that the Trump administration poses to the standing of the United States in front of the entire world in an interview with The New York Times.
‘It’s hard for the United States to pursue international anticorruption and ethics initiatives when we’re not even keeping our own side of the street clean. It affects our credibility. I think we are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point.’
Indeed, the United States is facing a presidential administration like it has never seen before, and Shaub is calling for political reform in order to rein in its unethical behavior. Of particular concern to Shaub is Trump’s potential violations of the emoluments clause by using his position as president to profit off the businesses with which he promised to cut ties.
‘It creates the appearance of profiting from the presidency. Misuse of position is really the heart of the ethics program, and the internationally accepted definition of corruption is abuse of entrusted power. It undermines the government ethics program by casting doubt on the integrity of government decision making.’
While the country debates the legality of the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russian government officials to influence the 2016 presidential election, no one can deny that the ethics of that campaign, as well as the current administration, are shady at best.
For more on this story, see video below:
Featured image screengrab via YouTube