The trickle of Republicans willing to speak out against President Trump is turning into a steady stream. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ), two long time critics of the President, were joined yesterday by normally loyal GOP allies like Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX).
Both Trump supporters refused to parrot White House talking points in defense the President’s son and instead offered critical if measured critiques.
Add Texas Republican Congressman Bill Flores to that list. He was interviewed by a local CBS affiliatein his central Texas district yesterday, and was asked his opinion on the revelation earlier this week that Donald Trump Jr. had met with a Russian government lawyer in Trump Tower to receive damaging research on Hillary Clinton.
First, Rep. Flores took a pass on defending him with a direct but balanced take. Then, he offered some unsolicited advice for the President – and his family.
“I do find issues with the meeting. It’s a meeting that should not have taken place,” he said. “I think he thought he was looking out for his father’s best interest.”
“I’m going out on a limb here, but I would say that I think it would be in the president’s best interest if he removed all of his children from the White House,” Flores said. “Not only Donald Trump, but Ivanka and Jared Kushner.”
It was only a matter of time before the issue of nepotism came back to haunt this administration.
Jared Kushner, though not a blood relative to the President, is his daughter Ivanka’s husband and one of his closest advisors.
He was also at the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian lawyer, a fact he lied about on official government disclosure forms and only added later in amended filings.
This failure to disclose opens the President’s son-in-law to prosecution, and he could face up to five years in prison.
Rep. Flores’ comments illustrate the underlying problem with nepotism. Not only are the optics bad. The family bonds cloud objectivity when important personnel decisions need to be made about job performance, liability, or ethics crises.
Non-relatives can more easily and fairly evaluated during trying times, and dismissed if necessary without consideration of anything beyond the facts and the political ramifications.
When it’s your company, and that’s how you want to run your business, there’s little the public can do about it.
But when you’ve been entrusted by the public to run their country, optics matter, results matter, and the standards must be much, much be higher.