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This Ivanka Trump answer is exactly why nepotism laws exist

In an interview with NBC that ran M...

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 5:02 PM
Updated: Feb 26, 2018 5:02 PM

In an interview with NBC that ran Monday morning, Ivanka Trump was asked a simple question: "Do you believe your father's accusers?"

This is how she answered: "I think it's a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he's affirmatively stated there's no truth to it."

That's a totally fine answer for a daughter to give! Makes perfect sense! Except ...

Ivanka Trump isn't just a daughter. She's also a White House senior adviser. She has an office in the building. She is seen as one of a very small group of voices the President listens to.

Any other adviser at such a senior level and with such perceived influence over the President would be expected to face just these sorts of questions. After all, Trump stands accused by more than a dozen women of sexual harassment and assault over the course of decades. There is also the question of a $130,000 payment by Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to a porn star named Stormy Daniels who alleged that she had an affair with Trump in the mid-2000s.

Given the #metoo movement, the number of high-profile men who have either admitted to or faced serious accusations about sexual assault or misconduct and the accusations Trump himself faces, it's entirely reasonable to ask a senior aide to the President about it all.

And, in her I'm-my-father's-daughter answer, Ivanka is trying to have it both ways.

On the one hand, she wants to be the face of the US delegation at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. And a regular participant in all manner of White House policy initiatives and pushes. That's the sort of stuff that major players in a White House get to do.

On the other, she wants to be just Donald Trump's daughter. So, it's "inappropriate" to ask a daughter questions about her father's behavior.

Which, of course, is not how any of this works.

The inability of anyone to play the dual role of official adviser and blood relation is why, in the late 1960s, Congress passed an anti-nepotism law in the wake of John Kennedy's appointment of his brother, Bobby, as attorney general.

Here's what the law says:

"A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official."

How did Trump get around this statute to hire not just his daughter, Ivanka, but her husband Jared Kushner? Because "agency" in the law above is interpreted to not include the White House. So, Trump couldn't make Ivanka the Treasury Secretary. But, according to the current interpretation of the law, he is fine with having her in a senior role within the White House.

Which, OK (I guess?), legally speaking.

But, as a practical matter, it simply doesn't work -- as this latest Ivanka response to NBC's question makes clear. You can't be both a daughter and a senior presidential adviser. The rules of engagement -- and response -- that cover one simply don't apply to the other.

This isn't a Republican or Trump problem alone. Bill Clinton's decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of a task force charged with overhauling the nation's health care system created many of the same concerns.

Past history on this is instructive. Unless Congress updates the anti-nepotism language to clear up the legal questions as to whether it applies to the White House, we will have this Ivanka Trump situation again sometime -- and it won't end any differently (or better).

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
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