The outgoing director of the Office of Government Ethics has accused President Donald Trump of "profiting from the presidency," saying the United States is "pretty close to a laughingstock."
In an interview with The New York Times published on Monday, Walter Shaub lamented that Trump has had a damaging attitude toward ethics, undermining the US position abroad.
“It’s hard for the United States to pursue international anticorruption and ethics initiatives when we’re not even keeping our own side of the street clean. It affects our credibility,” he told the newspaper over the weekend. “I think we are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point.”
Shaub, who will leave office nearly six months before the end of his term, said the president’s frequent trips to his own business properties have raised ethics concerns.
“Misuse of position is really the heart of the ethics program, and the internationally accepted definition of corruption is abuse of entrusted power," he added.
“It undermines the government ethics program by casting doubt on the integrity of government decision making.”
Shaub announced earlier this month that he would resign after challenging the White House on ethics issues for six months, saying he felt he could not accomplish much in the Trump administration.
Shaub, who started his tenure during the George W. Bush administration, will officially step down from the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) on July 19, according to a letter to Trump that Shaub posted on Twitter.
Before Trump was inaugurated, his lawyer unveiled how Trump would structure his businesses after taking office. Rather than completely divesting, Trump would maintain limited connections to his business empire.
Shaub denounced the arrangement, calling it “wholly inadequate” in resolving any potential conflicts of interest.