'Rules don't apply to us': Ex-ethics chief blasts real message of Ivanka's Goya stunt


The former head of the federal Office of Government Ethics on Thursday blasted Ivanka Trump’s stunt posing on Twitter with a can of beans as a pointed message to the public that the “rules don’t apply” to the Trump family.

“If it’s Goya, it’s got to be good,” the first daughter tweeted Tuesday in English and Spanish. The message was sparked by calls to boycott Goya products last week after company CEO Robert Unanue gushed that the nation was “blessed” to have Donald Trump as president.

Trump followed his daughter’s message the next day with his own tweet posing with several Goya products lined up on the Oval Office’s Resolute desk while he grinned and gave two thumbs-up.

Ivanka Trump’s post flat-out “violated an executive branch ethics regulation prohibiting employees from misusing their official positions to endorse commercial products,” former OGE Director Walter Shaub declared in a Washington Post op-ed. But even more troubling, Shaub noted, was that the father-and-daughter messages were part of a drumbeat theme that rules don’t apply to the Trumps — or to the Republican administration.

“As a pictorial representation of the Trump administration’s war on government ethics, both photos are perfectly clear,” Shaub said. “They scream ‘the rules don’t apply to us,’ a central message of the Trump administration from the start.”

Just three weeks after Trump took office, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway stomped on ethics rules when she told the public to “go buy” Ivanka Trump’s products in a televised interview.

Shaub recalled: “As the OGE’s director, I asked the White House to address this violation of the misuse of position regulation. The White House shrugged off the violation, responding that Conway had uttered her endorsement in a ‘light offhand manner’ and was ‘highly unlikely to do so again.’”

But she did break ethics regulations again and again — “dozens of times” — so much so that Henry Kerner, Trump’s appointee to head the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, later recommended that the serial-regulation buster be terminated, Shaub pointed out. Trump refused.

“The tone taken by those at the top is everything in government ethics, and the tone from the top of the Trump administration consistently undermines the principles of government ethics,” Shaub said.

The message from the Trumps is as clear as Ivanka Trump’s bean tweet, added Shaub: “Lawlessness is not just tolerated in the Trump administration; it’s virtually required.”

Read Walter Shaub’s entire Washington Post article here.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.