Through the Looking Glass Presidency — It’s a Family Affair — Nepotism is Only the Beginning
According to numerous reports, family members of President Donald Trump are being given high-ranking, sensitive and extremely powerful positions in the administration simply because of their relation, and see this as perfectly normal.
“Nepotism is kind of a factor of life,” Eric said. “We might be here because of nepotism, but we’re not still here because of nepotism. You know, if we didn’t do a good job, if we weren’t competent, believe me, we wouldn’t be in this spot.”
The sheer hubris of the first statement is exceeded only by the logical non-sequitur of the second: Nepotism is normal, asserts the man hired by his father, and my father did not hire me because I am his son, but because I am good at the job, says the man who has yet to do anything in the capacity he was hired to fulfill.
Perhaps that is unfair — if by “do a good job” the Young Trump means keeping the president in control of his vast empire, assisting in policy decisions that will increase his wealth, while maintaining the thinnest facade that paints him as a government worker — a servant of the people of a democracy — then one can only golf clap and say “good job, young man.”
His sister Ivanka has been elevated to become the president’s personal aide and adviser, whatever that means. Does it mean she would be complicit in policies that run afoul of law, the Constitution and decency? “If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” she is reported to have said. Again the question arises, a “force for good” in what sense?
Her husband, likewise, has been given enough responsibility to overload a dozen of our country's best politicians, diplomats, policy wonks and special envoys, yet he smiles and either believes or pretends to believe all of this is perfectly normal. Meanwhile, Trump has left empty 491 of the 553 key administration positions that require Senate approval.
We are through the looking glass and wandering in the landscape of an administration that declares up is down, black is white, and in is out. It is true that a president can hire whoever he wants for a number of key positions inside his administration, and do so without formal approval of any oversight body. But the new normal is to hire family and friends, give to them duties and responsibilities once managed by people accountable to the electorate, and to use that power to milk the country — and by extension the people — for every last dollar.
And these events mark only the starting gun of a race to the collapse of our public institutions. But after all, some in this administration want exactly that.