The President’s Most Unethical Appointment

Now that we know the whole story, it’s Michael Flynn, the erstwhile National Security Advisor, hands down. That’s amazing, when one considers some of the other appointments, like the spectacularly unqualified Ben Carson, Rick Perry, appointed to lead an agency he has previously said should be eliminated (and couldn’t remember its name); and the embarrassingly unethical Tom Price, the HHS head.

Earlier this week, Flynn, who was forced to resign February 13, for lying to Vice-President Pence, filed  with the Justice Department revealing that he had done work from August to November “that could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.”  That work had netted Flynn’s firm more than a half-million dollars, and made Flynn legally obligated to register as a foreign agent.

On Election Day, Flynn’s op-ed was published  on The Hill  praising Turkish President Erdogan as an ally against ISIS. On November  18,  Representative Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, wrote a letter to  Pence inquiring about Flynn’s ties to the Turkish government. When the White House  confirmed that the Trump transition team knew before Inauguration Day that Flynn might be required to register as a foreign agent. it was stating the undeniable.

How  could  someone like General Flynn ever be appointed national security adviser? White House spokesman Sean Spicer (speaking of bad hires) has made the silly excuse that Flynn’s status as a registered foreign agent didn’t mean he had a disqualifying conflict of interest. A  top national-security aide who was under contract to lobby for a foreign government deeply involved with U.S. Middle East policy? Outrageous! Outrageous, and guaranteed to spark a scandal as soon as this became public.  Not only was this a bad appointment, an incompetent appointment, an irresponsible, reckless and dangerous appointment, it was a really stupid appointment.

The job of the national security adviser is not subject to Senate confirmation, making a thorough vetting by the administration even more essential than usual. Yet either the thorough vetting didn’t occur, or the President didn’t pay any attention to it, which is worse.

If the President couldn’t see that Flynn was a terrible choice for a key position, and no advisor could or would stop him from making the appointment, that indicates serious problems that must be addressed, and fast. If the President didn’t have all of the information he needed to make the right decision (that is, appoint someone else), then Flynn isn’t the only one who needed to go. Needs to go.

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Facts: The Atlantic

17 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Leadership, Public Service, Unethical Websites

17 responses to “The President’s Most Unethical Appointment

  1. RomanBWitkowsky

    Dear Jack,
    Some much needed critique of the Trump administration was in order. Sad that the Republicans allowed Dr. Carson, Dr. Price. and Mr. Perry into Trump’s administration, Seems that ethics was not at the top of their priorities.
    RBW

  2. Other Bill

    Sadly, there’s no doubt about it. The Trump administration is a pretty motley crew. They’re definitely not “the best people.” Unfortunate.

  3. Agreed. Seems like this is why the administration has a Don McGahn. Was he enlightened, or kept in the dark? [Neither is good.]

  4. Chase Davidson

    The problem, as I see it, is that Trump doesn’t care at all about competence. Flynn’s (and his son’s) apparent endorsement of the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy theory should have been the canary in the mine as far as he was concerned. It’s clear to me that the only thing that Trump cares about is personal loyalty – to Trump and to Trump’s family. Flynn got his post not because he was qualified but because he was a trump campaign booster. Jeff Sessions was one of the first sitting Senators to endorse Trump, and so he became Attorney General.

    • Other Bill

      Not sure that explains it CD. Are there any administrations that aren’t stacked with all sorts of campaign leftovers and loyalists? Basic patronage. Valerie Jarrett applied for her job through the GSA? An administration is either well staffed or not.

  5. Yay! Criticism of Trump!

    I can’t wait for knee-jerk right wingers to defend Trump just like knee-jerk Lefties did for Obama until their faces turned blue.

    Until they chime in (which I’m not going to hold my breath for), I will comment:

    Whether Perry is or is not qualified to lead a particular department, I don’t think that his stated opposition to the department he is tasked to lead is a disqualifying characteristic.

    As a matter of checks and balances, I think it’s a possible plus for department heads to approach their departments from a skeptical point of view – that is to say approaching their department from an angle that is constantly questioning: are the actions my people taking good for the Rule of Law and good for the Rights of the People or not?

    • Theoretically, you are right but…
      1. I would not want to work for anyone who had expressed disrespect for my job or the mission of my organization.
      2. If the idea is not to end the agency, it’s a confounding message that needs clarification.
      3. If the new leader is an acknowledged problem solver/ manager extraordinaire, then we believe he can do the job well no matter what his views. But this is Rick Perry.

      • Other Bill

        But he looks good in a suit and glasses in a kind of George Hamilton way. So he’s got that going for him.

      • Chris

        Yeah, I think there’s a difference between “Previous people in my job have taken things too far and amassed too much power” and “My job should not exist.” That way lies Ron Swanson, who is a great character, but who should never be put in charge of anything in real life.

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