Team Trump Scrapped Ethics Training Program for Incoming White House Staffers

One White House official who could have used an ethics class. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Unlike the staffers serving under Presidents Bush and Obama, White House officials working for President Trump were not treated to an ethics course that could have helped them avoid some of the upheaval in the first month of Trump’s presidency, Politico reports.

In addition to ethics issues, the course covered topics that may have helped avoid Andrew Puzder’s failed nomination for labor secretary and the disastrous roll out of Trump’s travel ban, among other things. As Politico puts it, the program included preparation for:

working within existing laws and executive orders, and provided guidance on how to navigate Senate confirmation for nominees and political appointees, how to deal with congressional and media scrutiny, and how to work with Congress and collaborate with agencies…

In a letter obtained by Politico, the transition team explained that it dropped the training program because of changes concerning goals “for the political appointee orientation program.” That language suggests that the Trump transition may have held its own training program, but the White House didn’t answer Politico when it asked if that was the case.

Based on the hectic first month of the Trump presidency, it would be little surprise if no ethics training at all was held, and it’s hard to imagine anyone regretting that more than Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway. The President’s former campaign manager stepped in it last month when she appeared to go out of her way to endorse Ivanka Trump’s clothing line on “Fox & Friends.”

Her statement drew widespread criticism and the Office of Government Ethics recommended “disciplinary action.” But that saga came to an end Wednesday when Trump deputy counsel Stefan C. Passantino said his office determined that Conway “acted inadvertently and is highly unlikely to do so again.”

Team Trump Scrapped Ethics Training for White House Staffers