Getting Swampy: Cabinet Picks and Appointments


Politico’s piece on apparent plagiarism in communications nominee Monica Crowley’s Columbia doctoral dissertation lays bare the challenge that many of Trump’s appointments will face. With transition work lagging behind and ethics and background checks being completed in seemingly haphazard and rushed fashion, it’s no wonder that issues are arising for a number of nominees.

Trump’s transition team is pushing back on charges against Crowley citing politically motivated obstructionism. If the team had done its job better, however, the charges of plagiarism could have been addressed proactively rather than from a defensive posture.

Donald Trump was elected in part on his promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington DC insiders who dishonestly perpetuate their own roles in government. Monica Crowley’s seemingly obvious plagiarism does not bode well for swamp draining. The act of plagiarism is precisely the kind of intellectual dishonesty that characterizes the denizens of the DC swamp that Trump decried so forcefully during his campaign.

Donald Trump should hold his nominees and appointments to a higher standard of ethical behavior than even the Obama administration did. If his appointments, however, do not measure up then it is the responsibility of the media to shine a bright light on the kinds of dishonesty that Crowley has not yet admitted she is guilty of.