America A.T. – Part One

The following is the first installment in a series of undetermined duration and frequency about life in America after Trump (A.T.).

Someday, somehow Donald Trump will no longer be President of the United States of America. You have to believe that if you, like me, believes America will endure. We have survived bad presidents before, although probably not as bad as Trump. Several of them served during my lifetime. While still paying the price for their misdeeds; we have survived. Trump has exposed many weaknesses in our system which we will have to repair after his exit. When I coached basketball we often learned more from a loss than a win because a loss exposed our weaknesses. Remember America’s overarching goal is a more perfect union.

Today I’d like to look at three laws we need to codify in order to close the gaps Trump has exposed. The areas I want to explore today are blind trusts, nepotism and financial disclosure.

Just prior to taking office Trump made a big production out of setting up what he claimed was a blind trust. The only thing blind about Trump’s “blind trust” was the blindness required in order to buy his explanation. In a true blind trust you place your assets under the management of an independent third party who manages them until such time (in the case of the presidency) that you leave office. You are literally blind as to how they are being handled which eliminates the conflict of interest and self-dealing situations. Having your children manage the family business and report back to you is lightyears away from a blind trust!

One of America’s dilemmas under Trump is we simply do not know if policy decisions are being made in America’s best interest or the Trump family’s financial interest. Evidence appears to indicate the latter and not the former.

We need strict anti-nepotism laws without loopholes. This problem is not exclusive to the Trump administration nor is it just a Republican problem. In recent history we had Robert Kennedy serving as his brother’s Attorney General. Nancy Reagan to a degree ran the federal government during her husband’s administration (including the firing of a White House Chief of Staff). Hillary Clinton headed an important (and ultimately failed) task force during her husband’s time in office.

Under the current system if a relative is unpaid they are allowed to serve. That allows Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner to hold senior roles in the current White House. To say there are legitimate reasons to believe that they have used their positions to enhance their personal wealth is a serious understatement. This also fuels the already existing problem of too many elites in high places. A working class person simply cannot afford to take a job sans a paycheck.

There is a plethora of better qualified people to take Ivanka and Jared’s places and they come without the significant baggage these two have. Remember Daddy had to intercede to get security clearances for his daughter and her hubby. Would Kellyanne Conway have done an on air “commercial” for a non-relative of the president in violation of a federal law that was selectively not enforced? Senior administration personnel serve at the pleasure of the elected president. Isn’t it more difficult to fire you child or their spouse?

The final point I want to cover today to a significant degree relates to the first: full financial disclosure. Trump has proven that norms and morals are no longer sufficient; we have to codify behavior. Every president and major presidential candidate since Richard Nixon has disclosed their tax returns, until Trump that is. That simply became something you do. When we think of the most honest presidents in American history the name Richard Nixon doesn’t come to mind, yet Trump can’t even meet his standard. As more and more wealthy candidates seek and attain the office of the Presidency we have to legally require financial disclosure. We simply need to know where they have made their money and thereby who they might be beholden to. We also need to know who they are doing private business with, especially while in office if their affairs are not in a true blind trust, so we know if they are self-dealing or putting their bank accounts before their patriotism.

The above needs to be in a legislative package of bills passed in the first 100 days of the next administration. America needs and deserves the protection.

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One thought on “America A.T. – Part One”

  1. I’m sure you have many more examples of improvements which need to be made in the aftermath of Trump. Here’s one of mine which is particularly relevant today. Presidential immunity from indictment. And maybe we should pass a law which sets a limit of lies before punishment of some kind is imposed. Ha ha.

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