A former lawyer for White House ethics wrote a scathing op-ed denouncing the president’s ethical conduct, published Thursday in USA Today.
Norman Eisen, a former White House ethics lawyer under President Obama, wrote that Trump’s handling of ethics has created an environment of “serial ethics problems.”
The op-ed comes as the Treasury Secretary takes heat for allegedly using a government Air Force jet for his private indulgence. The jet reportedly costs $25,000 an hour to operate.
“President Trump has created the environment for these kinds of serial ethics problems through his own contempt for ethics and law,” Eisen wrote.
“He has kept his highly conflicted personal business interests and used the Oval Office to promote them. No wonder Mnuchin may feel entitled to use public office for private gain. Improper use of government jets is small beer compared to the emoluments the president is collecting,” he continued.
The Treasury department came out in defense of Mnuchin, saying, “It is imperative that he [Mnuchin] have access to secure communications, and it is our practice to consider a wide range of options to ensure he has these capabilities during his travel, including the possible use of military aircraft.”
When it came to using an Air Force jet for his recent European honeymoon, Mnuchin changed courses upon finding out he could communicate with the White House through other means.
Eisen, who now chairs watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), wrote that the Treasury Secretary needs to be reigned in and that Trump needs to set a better example. He then returned to the topic of Trump’s business interests, saying: “We should insist that Trump return to the 40-year bipartisan tradition of presidents divesting from their business interests and instilling a culture of responsibility and ethics in their administrations.”
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