Trump's embrace of corruption has driven the government's ethics chief to quit and join a group seeking to reign in the types of abuse that Trump promotes.
Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, has quit his position after repeated clashes with Donald Trump over his administration’s unethical behavior.
In his resignation letter, Shaub praised the officials working in the department, noting, “They are committed to protecting the principle that public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain” (emphasis in original).
Shaub has joined the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center, telling NPR, “The current situation has made it clear that the ethics program needs to be stronger than it is.”
Trump has been battling the ethics office since before he was even sworn in. The office pointed out that Trump’s failure to divest from the Trump Organization, in a break with presidential tradition, presented a gross conflict of interest. Shaub wrote in December, “Transferring operational control of a company to one’s children would not constitute the establishment of a qualified blind trust, nor would it eliminate conflicts of interest.”
Trump ignored the office, and instead has left his company in the hands of his children, while still discussing operational matters with them as he simultaneously sits in the Oval Office.
Corruption has become the standard under Trump, and a series of exposures has shown continued violations of the public trust.
Trump still owns several million dollars’ worth of real estate that would allow foreign entities or others seeking influence to effectively bribe him, without any disclosure to the public.
His hotel in Washington, D.C., has become a hive for corruption, as lobbyists and foreign governments – as well as Trump’s own re-election committee use it to host events, with the money going right into Trump’s bank accounts.
Trump’s top aides have gotten in on the corruption as well, in ways that benefit themselves and Trump.
White House senior aide Steve Bannon received a waiver that would allow him to continue dictating the content of the white supremacist Breitbart site, even as he operates at Trump’s right hand.
Fellow White House aide Kellyanne Conway used a Fox News appearance to tell viewers to buy Ivanka Trump’s discount clothing line. The Trump administration did not punish her, but the ethics office ruled that she was involved in “misuse of position.”
Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner both hold White House jobs while wielding influence on key issues directly related to their personal business, with few enforceable safeguards put in place.
Trump is a textbook case of why ethics laws have to be improved, rather than simply left to politicians to police themselves. With Trump, America’s integrity is now on sale, and going cheap.