The Appearance Of Impropriety

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.

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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.

It's a family affair



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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The Appearance of Impropriety




the state or quality of conforming to conventionally accepted standards of behavior or morals.
“he always behaved with the utmost propriety”

decorum, respectability, decency, correctness, protocol, appropriateness, suitability, good manners, courtesy, politeness, rectitude, morality, civility, modesty, demureness;

sobriety, refinement, discretion

Impropriety… the absence of any of the above

The focus right now is on Attorney General Jeff Sessions who just recused himself from any investigations regarding the Trump campaign. After denying under oath that he had spoken with any Russian officials. It was discovered that he held two meetings with the Russian Ambassador during the campaign. Since that revelation, Sessions has made several evolving statements and/or tweets where he acknowledged the meetings (one of which was held in his office), said they weren’t about the campaign, and he can’t remember what was talked about.



Sessions is not alone of course. Regarding Russia alone, Campaign Manager Paul Manafort resigned prior to the election due to his ties to Ukraine and Russia and a $11.5 million cash payment. General Mike Flynn stepped down after 25 days in office as the National Security Advisor after undisclosed discussions with the Russian Ambassador were revealed where the campaign was discussed. Jared Kushner met with the Russian Ambassador at Trump Tower in December after the election. This too was undisclosed until recently and reporters who were watching Trump Tower are certain the Ambassador didn’t come in through the front door.


Even if we could ignore Steve Bannon’s White Nationalist allegiances and racism. He’s been previously charged with domestic violence, threatening a witness (his ex-wife) and sexual harassment of an employee. Andrew Puzder had to withdraw his nomination for Secretary of Labor after old charges of spousal abuse and a video of his ex-wife on Oprah became public.


It would be the worst of luck if Donald Trump happened to surround himself with rogues who either happened to have Russian leaders in their social circles or had tawdry pasts outside Trump’s knowledge. There is of course another theory; that Trump himself was at least aware that multiple campaign members were seeking Russian assistance in his campaign. He may also have an affinity for sexual abusers due to his own admitted history in this regard.

Donald Trump himself is the role model for all his underlings. He has courted impropriety all his life. When learning the real estate business with his father Fred Trump. Their company marked rental applications from black applicants, “C” for colored so that they could deny them housing. He lies about his academic accomplishments. Cheated on his wives. Trump admitted on a now famous video that he can kiss women against their will, “grab them by the pussy.” He wanted the innocent ‘Central Park Five”, executed. He was opposed to the settlement they received after spending years in jail unjustly. He’s cheated business partners, reneged on contracts, failed to pay laborers.

The Fall of Trump

Trump has no relationship with the truth unless you say he’s divorced from it. Contemporaneous stories published in the New York Times reported the arrest of Fred Trump at a violent KKK rally where they clashed the police. Donald, who wasn’t born at the time, says “it didn’t happen.” “His father wasn’t there.” No one in his administration lies more than Trump. He lies about things large and small. Sessions and Flynn’s lies seem almost small in comparison.

The Trump Administration, “And some, I assume, are good people!” Views propriety as “political correctness” and pride themselves about not conforming to established norms. Trump never released his tax records, leaves in place his financial attachment to his businesses (those we know of) and their inherent conflict of interest. He imposed a Muslim Ban as part of an Executive Order until the Courts stopped him.

When Hillary Clinton apologized for calling half of Trump supporters, “A Basket of Deplorables.” She regretted using the term half, suggesting it encompassed too high a percentage. I neither agree or disagree with that percentage as applied generally to Trump supporters. As far as his Administration however. Half is far too low!