Secret Corruption ‘Waivers’ and Other Tales From Trump’s Former Ethics Director

Photo Illustration Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration Daily Beast/Getty

It’s hard to distill the Trump administration’s many, many mistakes down to “the most horrifying ethical lapse.” But if there’s anyone qualified to do so, it’s Walter Shaub, the former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics during the Obama administration, and for nine very long months during the Trump administration.

He doesn’t hesitate when Molly Jong-Fast asks him the lapse question in the latest episode of The New Abnormal.

Subscribe to The New Abnormal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, or Overcast. To listen to our weekly members-only bonus episodes, join Beast Inside here. Already a member? You can listen here and sign up for new episode email alerts here.

“The worst thing was President Trump’s failure to divest his conflicting financial interests, which he then made worse by promoting those financial interests aggressively using the presidency,” Shaub says.

After speaking out about that issue, and somehow not getting fired, Shaub says he witnessed a few more alleged, and blatant, breaches of ethics by the administration before they eventually shut him out.

One instance was the “secret waivers” that he says were used by members of the administration as a “get-out-of-jail-free” card so they could do whatever they wanted. The problem? No one would produce those cards for Shaub.

“The secret of the secret waivers was that there were no secret waivers, they were just letting people break the rules,” he says.

After Shaub shares other tales of what it was like at possibly the most frustrating government job ever, he goes in on President Biden, claiming he flubbed the chance to make sure that former President Trump, or anyone else, couldn’t so easily give the middle finger to our democracy.

How Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘Basically Bought’ Her House Seat

Then, Esquire’s politics blog editor Charles P. Pierce joins to discuss the Reagan administration’s economic ignorance and how the “the conservative media octopus” made people so anti-vax it’s actually un-American.

Plus! Molly and producer Jesse Cannon discuss Trump’s new “social media platform” TRUTH, where one of the rules is that you’re not allowed to talk shit on TRUTH.

Listen to The New Abnormal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon and Stitcher.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!

Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.