It’s Not A “Conflict Of Interest” If You Change The Definition of “Conflict Of Interest”

Ken AshfordTrump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Greg Sargent caught Sean Spicer explaining why Trump’s blatant conflicts of interest aren’t unethical:

“You tell everyone, here’s what’s going on, here’s the process, here are the people that are playing a role, that’s being transparent. Conflicts of interest arise when you’re not — when you’re sneaky about it, when you’re shady about it, when you’re not transparent about it.”

Nnnno.  It’s a conflict of interest when you have interests that conflict.  Or, to be less circular, you have a conflict of interest when you have a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity.

I THINK Spicer was saying that conflicts of interest, in a corporate setting, can be waived if a majority is made aware of the conflict and approves it.  I think he is suggesting that this will translate to Trump in the election process — i.e., every voter knew of his conflicts and they elected him anyway.  That is tacit approval that America waives any problem with his conflict of interest.

If that is what Spiver was suggesting, it is absurd.

For one thing, we don’t know that every voter knew about the extent of Trump’s conflicts.  In fact, we still don’t know, because he keeps so much of his finances a secret.

Secondly, many voters reasonably believed that Trump would, voluntarily or by law, take steps to remove those conflicts.  Trump himself seem to suggest this would happen many times during the campaign.  So, he misled the voters.

And finally, a majority of voters did not elect Trump.  Hillary won the popular vote by almost 2 percentage points.

The thing is, the Trump people wouldn’t say this blatantly stupid stuff if there wasn’t a huge swath of people who believe it all.