When you have a President who retains his Financial interest, even if you’re supportive of him, you can’t know what his decisions are based on. And that becomes particularly acute when you see him praising [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan for seizing more power, or inviting the murderous [Rodrigo] Duterte to Washington, when he has property interests in Turkey and the Philippines.
But the commonality I’m hearing is the unwillingness to rely on experts. At the Office of Government Ethics, we saw ourselves in the solutions business. So let’s go back to the president’s financial interests. I have repeatedly said that he needed to sell them. But even if he wasn’t willing to sell them, we could have come up with other solutions that could have mitigated the harm, such as saying no administration official will attend any event at a Trump-branded or -owned property. That might’ve stopped Kuwait and Bahrain and other countries from holding events there, or politicians or charities from doing fundraising events there, because they would’ve known not a single person from the White House would’ve walked through the door. We also could have recommended that he follow the nepotism precedents instead of having the Department of Justice reverse its decades-old position on nepotism.
So when the White House smears me and says I somehow was trying to undermine them, the truth is, if they had done what I recommended, they would’ve been stronger for it.”
- Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, interviewed in “Four Quitters Walk Into a Bar…”