The Ethically Vacant Administration   (2018May10)

Thursday, May 10, 2018                                          2:08 PM


We are closing in on the first anniversary of Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub, Jr. turning in his resignation. You may remember he quit over Trump’s refusal to divest his businesses and Trump’s refusal to disclose ethics waivers issued for White House staff.

I would say that Trump has vindicated Shaub’s decision by neglecting to fill the vacant post. (Trump did appoint the OGE’s counsel as acting director—but that person has issued one single press release in 2018—which I take as a sign of ‘agency hibernation’.) Trump has still not divested in full. And the Ethics Waivers issue took care of itself—most Trump staffers with questionable backgrounds have since resigned, been fired, have confessed to the FBI, or are currently under investigation.

The few ‘Ethics-Waivee’s who remain, such as KellyAnn Conway, have become caricatures of credibility—character actors in the tragic farce of today’s White House. Trump brought in Giuliani to be a fresh face of falsehood on the media stage—but Rudy seems to have ejaculated prematurely, outdoing KellyAnn’s two-years-of-hyperbole in a single weekend round of talk-shows.

I had naively hoped that General Flynn’s exposure as an Oligarch-gopher and Putin-plant within the National Security Council would be laid at Trump’s feet. I had hoped the same about Manafort and Gates. And about Stone and Papadopolis. Now, they are even trying to question whether Cohen’s activities were ‘in any way connected’ to the president. Gee, I donno!

We must eventually reach a point where his mouthpieces will be claiming that Trump’s mouth or Trump’s hands may have been involved, but not his heart and soul. And somehow, that not only makes Trump innocent of any reality—but makes the crimes themselves minor misdeeds that don’t deserve media discussion. It all works out very neatly—don’t you see?

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