There’s an old joke. What do you call the guy who finished at the bottom of his medical school class? Doctor.
If they hadn’t known it ahead of time, my attorney friends are shocked when I tell them that Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, is a lawyer. They just can’t imagine it – Ms. Conway doesn’t behave like a lawyer. Well, there is that whole “alternative facts” argument that seemed kind of lawyerly.
Ms. Conway received her Juris Doctor from George Washington University in 1992, and describes herself as a “fully recovered” attorney. She founded the Polling Company in 1995 and is president and CEO. The company often works with Republican candidates to appeal to women voters, but also contracts with Freedom Works, Americans for Prosperity, National Rifle Association, the Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council, and other conservative organizations. Conway is strongly anti-abortion and has provided commentary on more than 1,200 TV shows. Early in her career, she often attacked the Clintons on television programs.
All White House staffers receive an ethics briefing shortly after being sworn in. One would expect that an attorney from a prestigious law school would have an easy time comprehending the Dos and Don’ts of ethics laws. And yet, Ms. Conway broke a big one this week when she told viewers of Fox & Friends to buy Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories products after retailer Nordstrom announced they would be dropping the line due to low sales. The comment violated a federal code preventing government employees from using their public office for private gain – theirs or anyone else’s.
So Ms. Conway is in big trouble now. Or maybe not. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on February 9, “Kellyanne has been counseled and that’s all were going to go with.” He also said, “She’s been counseled on that subject, and that’s it.”
Perhaps for a first offense, that could be it, but the White House may not have the last word on this. Utah Republican representative and chairman of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffett, said Conway’s actions were “wrong, wrong, wrong, clearly over the line, unacceptable.” Keep in mind that one of the first actions House Republicans did in January was to vote to eliminate independent ethical oversight of their actions, until a popular backlash made them cancel their plans.
Yes, the House Oversight Committee chairman of THIS House of Representatives called Conway’s actions unacceptable.
I find this all interesting, but Kellyanne’s comments are a symptom, not a disease. She will probably receive no punishment, and the incident will end with her “counseling.”
The disease is the black tone that flows from the White House, and before that, the Trump campaign. Through spokespeople, tweets, changes in executive branch websites, and the devaluing of scientific knowledge, this administration is attempting to blacken the hearts of the American people so we accept every action and every proclamation we hear from them.
When I was in middle school, we were taught about the Dark Ages. That term is not used anymore. Some will call that political correctness, but it was only “dark” for Western and perhaps Eastern Europe. Much of the rest of the world flourished during those centuries, including the Muslim world which became the center for scientific discovery.
The United States has been in an economic expansion for about ninety straight months, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to what comes out of the White House. The message from this administration is one of the dark ages. Everything is horrible – people are trying to kill us – if you disagree with the president, you are causing the downfall of civilization – if a company makes a business decision which may cost a family member money, it’s an attack on the country.
I’m getting rather tired with being lied to all the time.