According to Wikipedia, the “Appearance of Impropriety is a phrase referring to a situation which to a layperson without knowledge of the specific circumstances might seem to raise ethics questions.” In other words, the average person on the outside would look at something and say it looks bad. Most companies try to avoid any appearance of impropriety for selfish reasons. They don’t want to alienate their customers, they want to appease shareholders or investors. It’s bad for business. Governments avoid impropriety because they want the public trust. This has typically meant that government officials that look guilty of something, have to go because integrity requires it.
The Trump Administration including Trump himself has made it a point to disregard how they appear to anyone except perhaps Trump’s ever narrowing base. He destroyed norms by not releasing his Tax Returns which every President since Nixon has done. Since the election he doesn’t even pretend they’ll ever come out. Kellyanne Conway said, “it’s been litigated extensively during the campaign and we won!”
Trump has surrounded himself with those who wear their White Nationalism like a badge of honor. Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Michael Anton, Sebastian Gorka and Jeff Sessions. Some like Sessions deny until the cock crows but his past comments and current actions demonstrate his alliances. He doesn’t care how it looks for these are his people.
The Trump family had ignored all previous protocols regarding conflict of interest. Trump divested himself of little, letting his son’s manage his vast enterprise while promising not to discuss with their father what he can read in the news. Ivanka deals with China and Saudi Arabia on the same day as meeting with the respective leaders. The countries Trump gets along with despite their totalitarian regimes seem to coincide with where Trump does business.
When it came to the selection of his Cabinet. He sought not the experienced, knowledgeable and qualified. Instead Trump chose his cronies, the corrupt, and the hangers on. A man of few personal core values, his Cabinet collectively reflect his lack of empathy for any but the rich in their quest to reap more. His healthcare plan is about providing none to more and at a lower cost to those remaining. His tax plan is to reward the already rich by taking from the poor. His policies certainly look like he cared only for his family, friends and others in the upper brackets. He’s unconcerned about the whispers, even the howls of those who protest.
And now there’s national security. Many around him have had secret communications and meetings with Russian officials that they lied about. That enough would call for a reaction from any other President. Trump calls it “fake news.” Russians laundered money working from Trump Tower. Trump claims he didn’t know his tenant although pictured cavorting with him at the Miss Universe Pageant in Russia. He lies in every moment, unconcerned about any later “fact check” which he’ll simply dismiss. When the investigations began he tried to obstruct justice. He fired the man leading the FBI charge, blaming it first on others before confessing it was his own plan. He begged the heads of the Intelligence agencies to clear him and quash any investigation.
All this cannot happen in a vacuum. It takes a co-conspirator or in this case a host of co-conspirators willing to look the way while he literally sells out the American people to financial interests foreign and domestic. It takes a Ryan and McConnell to provide cover and look the other way. A Tillerson, DeVos, Mnuchen, and Carson to pretend to perform traditional roles in Government while in fact doing little or nothing they’re responsible for. It takes a Sessions to appease the core of his constituents.
Donald Trump cares nothing for the appearance of impropriety. He seems to believe the swirl of controversy to be part of his charm. The point he misses is that not giving a damn about what people think doesn’t mean the people aren’t entitled to give a damn. Impropriety reeks throughout this administration. Flynn set records for lasting the shortest time as NSA Director (24 days). The Trump administration set records for the earliest a Special Counsel was appointed to investigate them (4 months). There’s one more record he can set… Impeachment or Resignation. Clock is ticking.
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