Director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub explained his decision to resign during his first interview since leaving the position Thursday afternoon.
Shaub, who has been vocal in his criticism of the Trump administration, admitted he resigned over the appearance of impropriety, despite the lack of corroborating evidence.
“I can’t know what their intention is. I know that the effect is that there’s an appearance that the businesses are profiting from his occupying the presidency,” Shaub said in response to being asked if the Trump family was using the presidency to enrich themselves during the Thursday interview with CBS News.
Shaub criticized Trump in January in a public statement issued shortly after Trump announced his plan to place his business interests in a trust controlled by his sons. In the statement Shaub argued Trump’s plan did not sufficiently distance him from his family’s business operations.
“Stepping back from running his business is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective. The Presidency is a full-time job and he would’ve had to step back anyway. The idea of setting up a trust to hold his operating businesses adds nothing to the equation. This is not a blind trust—it’s not even close,” Shaub wrote in the statement.
Since taking office Trump has faced a number of allegations regarding potential conflicts of interest arising from his business dealings. There have been multiple lawsuits stemming from these allegations, but so far, they have failed to prove Trump violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
The now former ethics chief went on to explain that he didn’t believe it really mattered whether Trump was engaging in corrupt behavior.
“You can’t be sure. And so it almost doesn’t matter whether they are profiting or not. America should have the right to know what the motivations of its leaders are, and they need to know that financial interests—personal financial interests—aren’t among them,” Shaub said.
The interview is scheduled to be broadcasted on “CBS Evening News” Thursday at 6:30 p.m. EST.
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