Listening to the media today, the Democratic Party has apparently drawn a clear line in the sand regarding the ethical behavior of America’s political institutions compared to the last administration. After all, who could argue with Jen Psaki asserting that the Biden administration is the most transparent in presidential history – despite evidence to the contrary?
In the Trump years, the media hurriedly compiled hit pieces on the ethical backgrounds of nearly every Trump appointee, eventually focusing on Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. First, the media repeatedly called the appointment of the pair to President Trump’s White House staff “unprecedented” despite former president Bill Clinton’s selection of his wife, Hillary Clinton, to chair his health care task force. Eventually, the left would go on to accuse the Trump administration of being the most unethical administration in presidential history.
Former Obama Official Not Amused
Despite this narrative promoted by the media for months, the Biden administration has begun its own dance with nepotism in a more subtle manner behind closed doors. Barack Obama’s former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, unleashed a less-than-pleased string of tweets reacting to recent reports of several top aides in the Biden administration having relatives being hired as members of the administration. Biden’s White House counselor Steve Ricchetti now has three of his children working in the executive branch. At the same time, Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s sister currently serves as Senior Advisor on Human Rights and Gender Equity as part of the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, Chief of Staff Ron Klain’s wife has also been nominated for assistant secretary of state on oceans and the environment. Shaub even pointed out the irony of Biden’s director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, meant to vet administration appointees, having their own child hired as part of the administration. Lesser-known executive branch members have also had their spouses and relatives hired, though not all were named.
Already, Democrats have begun storming the hills in defense of their commander-in-chief. Attacks on outlets covering these revelations were prevalent, accusing the reporting of being done in bad faith without hard evidence of nepotism. Thus far, many progressives have reacted defensively to the report despite attacks on the Biden administration for “hiring privileged white kids with connected mommies and daddies” in the upper echelons of the federal government.
It may well be that many of these hires are well-qualified, with substantive experience in public policy, but that certainly cannot ring true about all of those called into question. Despite promises to the contrary, the Biden administration appears to be engaging in just the type of ethically questionably nepotism it has claimed to reject.
President Trump’s actions were scrutinized to the highest degree by the media, as they should have been for any president. The problem lies in the double standard the media seems to have set for Democratic politicians. Almost all criticism of Biden and his presidency, no matter how reasonable, has been put down as “right-wing talking points.” But given its pattern of appointments, if the Biden administration wants to prove itself more ethical than Trump’s, it hardly appears to be off on the right foot.
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