White House ethics chief Walter Shaub, who announced Thursday that he would be stepping down from his position before his term ends, is dropping one last bomb on Donald Trump.
In a new interview with CBS, Shaub says it’s pretty likely that Trump’s private businesses are profiting as a result of his presidency.
The ethics leader says that’s not a good thing for the United States of America, particularly when it comes to setting an example for the rest of the world.
Office of Gov’t Ethics head Walter Shaub: “America should have the right to know what the motivations of its leaders are.” pic.twitter.com/3bj8aYqKQs
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 6, 2017
I can’t know what their intention is. I know that the effect is that there is an appearance that the businesses are profiting from his occupying the presidency. And appearance matters as much as reality. … So even aside from whether or not that’s actually happening. We need to send a message to the world that the United States is going to have the gold standard for an ethics program in government, which is what we’ve always had. … It almost doesn’t matter whether they are profiting or not, America should have the right to know what the motivations of its leaders are.
Shaub is spot on that the United States has always held its leaders to the “gold standard,” particularly when it comes to a president’s financial conflicts.
Even if the intention of Trump and his family is not to profit from their work inside the White House – which is already in doubt – just the perception of it is bad enough, and Trump is doing nothing to tamp down those concerns.
In fact, he has done just the opposite.
Not only has the president ignored decades of precedent by both refusing to release his tax returns, but he has also been unwilling to completely remove himself from his private business entanglements.
While Shaub said he was not forced out by Trump, this president’s refusal to hold himself to the same ethical standards of his predecessors likely weighed heavily in Shaub’s decision.