WASHINGTON ― For decades, the United States has worked with other countries to eliminate nepotism. There’s a good reason for that: Nepotism breeds corruption.
“You’ve seen it in countries all over the world where they’ve appointed family members, whether it’s their son, daughter, in-laws — it provides for tremendous opportunities for corruption,” said Shruti Shah, an international anti-corruption expert at Coalition for Integrity, a good-government nonprofit. “People who want to curry favor find their way to provide favors to family members as a way to get closer to the person in power.”
But President Donald Trump, who has entrusted more power to his family members than any recent president, puts that agenda at risk. “I like nepotism,” Trump told Larry King in 2006, the year he replaced his “Apprentice” costar, Trump company executive Carolyn Kepcher, with his daughter Ivanka Trump.
Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, hold broad portfolios at the White House that include everything from diplomacy with China, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, women’s issues, cybersecurity and reinventing government.
They determine who else has power in the Trump administration. Trump sidelined Steve Bannon, a close adviser, after he butted up against his daughter and adviser-in-law, and he elevated former Goldman Sachs employees Gary Cohn and Dina Powell based in part on their friendly relationships with Ivanka and her husband. And the couple act as presidential emissaries, with Kushner traveling to Iraq at the suggestion of the Pentagon and Ivanka heading to Germany.
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