Trump’s First Hire—And Already An Ethics Breach!



From NBC:

Donald Trump Names RNC Chair Reince Priebus Chief of Staff: Sources

It looks like a pay-off to me. This is why “the appearance of impropriety” needs to be avoided at all levels of government.

Priebus, of course, was the Republican National Committee chair who blocked any organized effort to refuse Trump the GOP nomination, as a responsible party was obligated to do. That might have been a principled, if wrong, independent decision on his part, or it could have been a deal. After all, Hillary Clinton immediately hired deposed DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz after it was revealed that she was unethically assisting Clinton’s nomination efforts. When she was put on Clinton’s staff, it was widely interpreted as a pay-off for Wasserman Schultz putting Clinton’s ambitions ahead of her duty to the nation and the party. How is Trump hiring Priebus any less suspicious?

For my part, I couldn’t understand why Priebus didn’t lead the party to reject Trump on several occasions.  Now, maybe I know the answer.

Priebus is a lawyer, and a professional Republican. He’s from Wisconsin, and presumably close to Speaker Paul Ryan. He’s never held elected office. Does he have the strength to say “no” to Donald Trump? Very doubtful. Trump needs a strong Chief of Staff, not a toady.

On the optimistic side, Priebus is a great improvement over some of the really vile characters in his inner circle, like this guy, the slimy Roger Stone, Omarosa, or Corey Lewandowki.  He’s also far from as diabolical as some of the Clinton acolytes, like John Podesta. He’s not H.R. Haldeman, Don Regan, John Sununu or Rahm Emanuel. Priebus is a standard issue Republican political insider. It could be worse.

That’s not much consolation though. The raw fact is that right out of the gate, Trump is showing complete disregard for for ethics,and that erodes trust. He doesn’t that much trust to erode.

I wonder if Trump has an ethics advisor.

I doubt it.

Oh…I should mention that the fact that Trump won and somehow managed to spearhead an astounding GOP top-to-bottom romp over the Democrats, leaving that party is disarray, doesn’t alter the verdict that the Republicans should have rejected Trump. It was an unethical decision not to, and at least in the short term, it worked, if you call making someone like Donald Trump President of the U.S. “working.” It was moral luck, that’s all.

10 thoughts on “Trump’s First Hire—And Already An Ethics Breach!

  1. This does not bode well for one of the few silver linings I was hoping for with a Trump administration…that we might actually avoid seeing this sort of thing. So much for draining the swamp.

  2. No Jack it wasn’t moral luck. Trump’s victory is due to his massive support from blue collar white voters who are sick and tired of establishment Republicans and Democrats marginalizing them and ignoring their concerns. Even if Trump is an awful president which is certainly likely Trumpism will survive and be a major factor in upcoming elections.

    • Still moral luck, though. When you make a decision and have no idea how it will turn out and it turns out well, it’s moral luck. You can say the support was massive, but it was still less than Romney’s support. Any time you win without getting the popular vote, you’re lucky.

  3. I understand where you are coming from but would you feel the same way if Jeb Bush had been elected. Would the appearance of impropriety still exist?

    You said Preibus had a duty to keep Trump out but criticize the DNC for rigging the primary against Sanders. Pardon me but I dont understand. That seems like it’s ok to rig it when many view the candidate as wholly unqualified but not when they have a set of bona fides appropriate to the position. I thought that was what elections were for. The old way where the party picked the politically connected candidate in smoke filled back rooms was rejected when all politics became retail.

    If Preibus is the most qualified candidate for chief of staff then it would be unethical to prevent Priebus from being hired. I could accept the argument against appearance of impropriety had Priebus done something to advance Trump”s primary campaign but he just allowed each candidate sell themselves and their ideas. Why should Priebus be professionally penalized by virtue of his previous position in which he fid not tilt thr tables for or against any candidate. Seems to me he wanted fairness.

    Trump was not my primary choice but others picked him in a fair contest. I cannot complain about who he picks for his staff because the people picked him and he should have the right to pick his staff.

    I just dont understand

    • Here, let’s go back in time with Bon Jovi:

      Trump used a presidential run as a branding scheme before. He was doing it again. He wasn’t a Republican. The Republicans had every reason, and a responsibility, to keep a performer and a huckster from hijacking the party’s crucial national duty.So first, the part should have said, “Bye.” “You’re not a Democrat, you’re not qualified, go see the Democrats, or run as a third part candidate. Good luck.”

      But they were too greedy and clever by half. They decided that Trump would boost debate ratings, so they let him play. Then he started making menstruation insults about Megyn Kelly. That was #2. Trump should have either been kicked out then (Republicans don’t treat women like that. Bye.) or given an ultimatum. #3 was when he started denigrating and insulting Republicans, including President Bush. Again, an ultimatum, or a cumulative decision that this guy really was bad news. It was getting ridiculous, and disgracing the party. Finally, Priebus should have just said, “Gone” after some of Trump’s other outrageous statements.

      When he won the primaries, the GOP had an obligation to avoid putting before the American people an unfit candidate. A duty. It’s a private organization. it can make its own rules, and change them at will. Ultimately, it has a mission: to assist the public and the US in identifying and finding and electing a leader who stands for American values. It had a duty to reject Trump, even to the extent of dissolving the Party and leaving Trump to run under a name they had abandoned. Many in the party were ready to do that, and unite behind a decent candidate.

      This isn’t rigging. This is responding to a crisis, when the rules, as they exist, are deadly. Rigged is what the Democrats did, clearing the field, setting up a phony, absurd competitor to make the race look real, and then secretly undermining Bernie at every turn when he unexpectedly put up a good fight. What they did was under the table and a lie to their party members. That’s rigging. Lies. Secrets.

      Trump was given a whole primary season to prove he could be a responsible candidate. He flunked. The party had an obligation, openly, fairly, directly, to tell him that he didn’t cut it. They should have done it about six times.

      As sometimes happened, a stupid, irresponsible decision worked out for the Republicans and Trump. Whether it ends up being a catastrophe for the nation and the world is yet to be determined, but I blame Preibus, among others, for the risk we face.

      • Yes, it is fine to blame Priebus for the risk we face. However, here is where I take issue with you. You said:

        “Priebus, of course, was the Republican National Committee chair who blocked any organized effort to refuse Trump the GOP nomination, as a responsible party was obligated to do. That might have been a principled, if wrong, independent decision on his part, or it could have been a deal.”

        I am going with the principled, if wrong, independent decision. This differs a bit from DWS. She got caught protecting Clinton and had to be booted; Clinton snatched her up immediately, as if Clinton had vowed to protect her if things went south. That looks like quid pro quo. Had Hillary been elected, which American named Donna Brazile do you think would be named Clinton’s press secretary?

        Priebus had no apparent benefit from a Trump nomination. But, Trump was good. If they had kicked him out at the outset, Trump threatened a third-party route. That would have really hurt Republicans, not because it would lose the massive amount of press coverage devoted to him, but Trump could have taken a lot of voters with him. That threat had to be taken away.

        So, what did Priebus do? He tried to trap Trump with the pledge to support the eventual nominee. Figuring he would not win the nomination, he tried to eliminate him as a threat down the road. That move back-fired (obviously). Once Trump started winning (and drowning out the Republicans in the field), that pledge to support the nominee was suddenly an advantage to Trump. It tied the hands of the other nominees (and Priebus, as well). I don’t see the quid pro quo that was (and might have been) with DWS (and Donna Brazile).

        What might be happening now is that Trump needs to start making nice with the party. He is facing a House and Senate of his own party, and faces serious challenges in winning their support. A good way to work with the party would be to draw in the head of the party, someone who is likely going to be able to deal with whomever replaces him. It may serve to give Trump, a man with no coherent political ideology, some touchstone about the needs and wants of the party he is now the presumptive leader of.

        Just my two cents.


  4. Bannon will serve as chief strategist and senior counselor to the president, Trump’s transition team announced Sunday. Under Bannon, has embraced racist conspiracy theories and become what Bannon termed “a platform for the alt-right.”

    Just what you want as the most senior advisor, right? Appointed by President de facto Pence, who is overseeing the Transition, and will be in charge of “all foreign and domestic issues” during the Trump presidency.

    Trump himself will handle the rest, in the 4 days a week he’ll spend in the Oval Office.

    As for draining the swamp…

    Who better to delect those in charge of regulating an industry than lobbyists for that industry?

    Veteran agribusiness lobbyist Michael Torrey is tasked with transforming the Agriculture Department.

    Energy industry lobbyist Mike McKenna, who represents electricity and chemical companies, is leading the Energy Department transition team.

    For the Interior Department there is David Bernhardt… who represents mining companies seeking to use resources on federal lands and Indian reservations.

    David Malpass, who is overseeing the Treasury Department transition, was Bear Stearns’ chief economist in the years before the firm’s 2008 collapse.

    …and so on.

    • Being fair.. it’s a really good idea to have someone in that position who isn’t entirely Clueless about the issues involved. So if you want people with above average expertise in, say, merchant banking, you’re really going to have to choose someone with some connection with that industry. And that means either a merchant banker, or someone who has worked for merchant banks. Anyone else who knows the area is likely to be recruited by them as the pool of talent is small. Academics would seem a good choice, but too many are theoreticians with no practical knowledge, and it’s practical knowledge you need.

      On the other hand, Capos of organised crime families, though they are intimately familiar with the issues, might not be the ones you want picking candidates for chief of police.

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