For decades, the United States has held itself up as a paragon of open and ethical government. On many fronts, the country has led by example, enacting tough anti-corruption and ethics statutes and leading the world in the enforcement of those laws.
Rubbish. The United States has exempted its President, Vice-President, and the entire Congress and all Federal Judges from statutory conflict of interest legislation for decades. Firstly by Justice Department Fiat in 1974, then by enacting the exemption into law through Congress in 1989.
The US Code Title 18 Section 202 paragraph c says the following
(c)Except as otherwise provided in such sections, the terms “officer” and “employee” in sections 203, 205, 207 through 209, and 218 of this title shall not include the President, the Vice President, a Member of Congress, or a Federal judge.
Maybe the leaders were snickering because they know, and they have always known exactly how we do things. Maybe they find it funny that we think we’re different.
It’s not like it was any better before President Trump. It was occasionally less ridiculous. But it’s not like he invented graft or corruption. Ridiculous.