12/6 — In which we examine nepotism.

Three things that happened:

1 — I don’t think anyone should expect Melania Trump to play the role of a typical FLOTUS, at least at first. That’s not an insult by any stretch — she has a young son and wants to take care of him first and foremost. Melania has said that she wants to stay in New York at Trump Tower while Barron finishes his school year before moving to Washington. This leaves a bit of a vacuum in the White House, and I think Ivanka will end up filling that role.

Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are looking to move to Washington and have started looking at properties. There’s a number of problems with this, specifically related to nepotism laws that specifically forbid the children or in-laws of POTUS to serve in an official capacity in the White House. PEOTUS has said that he wants his children to run his business in a “blind trust” but that is literally impossible unless he never plans to speak with them for at least four years — and if Kushner and Ivanka are living in Washington and even casually advising PEOTUS, they’re asking for eventual trouble from Congress.

Today, former VP Al Gore met with both Ivanka Trump and PEOTUS at Trump Tower in New York to discuss Gore’s pet issue, climate change. Politico reported last week that PEOTUS wants Ivanka to be the “climate czar” for the next administration. The idea that the first daughter would ostensibly be taking the typical role of FLOTUS is troubling, as the Post suggests:

Ivanka Trump’s meeting with Gore can be embraced by those who want to see a more moderate Trump as an example of how Trump’s positions may not be as fervent as he suggests with his Cabinet and transition picks.
But the Trumps can’t have it both ways. Ivanka can’t be an influential insider and an independent outsider. Trump can’t have anti-climate staffers and get credit for his climate-friendly daughter.
Ivanka Trump apparently wants to champion issues in the name of her father (issues with which he apparently disagrees) all while serving as part of the seemingly porous barrier between the president and his business empire.

This is only going to get stickier. Eric and Donald Jr. haven’t even gotten started.


2 —MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough interviewed VPEOTUS this morning and when asked about the request for clearance for Mike Flynn Jr., VPEOTUS denied that Flynn Jr. had any role in the transition whatsoever. Later on that day Jason Miller (transition spokesman) confirmed that Flynn had worked for the transition, but only for clerical and scheduling work.

After that, CNN’s Jake Tapper questioned VPEOTUS on this and VPEOTUS dodged every chance to give a straight answer, prompting Tapper to comment “I want to move on to other issues, but I’m afraid I just didn’t get an answer”. VPEOTUS is the head of the transition team and he would know exactly who is getting security clearances. Eventually VPEOTUS admitted the truth.

“I said this morning that his [retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s] son had no involvement in the transition, but I have talked to General Flynn, and his son was helping him a bit with scheduling and administrative items, but that’s no longer the case.”

Tommy Vietor (former National Security Spokesman for the current POTUS) points out that, “Trump’s team lied about Flynn Jr.’s involvement and had bad enough judgment to try and get him security clearance.”


3 —Speaking of VPEOTUS, he’ll be the keynote speaker at a Heritage Foundation event tonight at an event at the new Trump Hotel in Washington, DC, with the event being “dedicated to Heritage Foundation donors who have given over $1,000 annually.” Heritage has claimed that it’s the only space available on short notice that would be able to accommodate a large number of people and cover security concerns on short notice.


Three more things, tomorrow evening.

Like what you read? Give Ben Cohen a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.