The Most Transparent Presidency Ever
A couple of weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine claimed that the Trump administration was “the most transparent in [her] lifetime.” This bounces around in my head with some frequency, especially when I see stories like the following (via NBC): After Pledging to Donate Salary, Trump Declines to Release Proof.
President Donald Trump pledged to forego a presidential salary, but as his second payday approaches, the White House is declining to say if the president has donated any of his earnings yet.
During the campaign, Trump promised he would take “no salary” if elected — a pledge he reiterated after he won.
Salary donations are not the only area where Trump’s pledges to donate revenue are lacking transparency.
During the transition, Trump also unveiled a plan to “donate all profits from foreign governments’ patronage of his hotels and similar businesses” to the Treasury Department. The plan was released by Trump’s private law firm, Morgan Lewis, but no system or accounting has been released for how or when such donations will be processed or disclosed.
This is the opposite of transparent. Of course, my guess is that that is not what my acquaintance thinks qualifies as “transparent” (which usually means openness about how an administration functions, especially when it comes to financial or other ethical issues). Rather, she probably falls into the “he says what is one his mind” camp (setting aside that what he says often is still far from transparent, e.g., last week’s claims about wiretaps). It in one of those areas in which I am having a really hard time wrapping my head around the blind support that Trump receives from so many.
Understand: I really don’t care what Trump does with his salary. But, goodness, this speaks to basic honesty, ethics, and competency. If it isn’t being donated, he is violating a simple promise. If it is being done, but the information is not getting out that is utter incompetence, as it is giving up on an easy route to score very simple PR points.