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Nepotism in US politics is not new and the decision by President-elect Donald Trump to bring his family into his inner circle is not unprecedented and has occurred in previous US administrations, a political analyst in Virginia says.
“If we look at the specific [nepotism] complaints that have been made against Trump, we see no fundamental departure from what previous administrations have done,” said Keith Preston, the chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.
Former US President Bill Clinton gave his wife, Hillary Clinton, a formal role to carry out healthcare reform during his administration in the 1990s, Preston told Press TV on Wednesday.
Hillary Clinton, who lost the 2016 US presidential election to Trump, was appointed by Bill Clinton as the chair of a federal task force devising the healthcare plan, although her efforts failed and she suffered enormous political fallout after the project.
The Bush family, one of the most successful political dynasties in American history, has also relied on family ties to exercise important political roles, Preston noted.
Trump’s decision to bring his children into his inner circle, alongside several highly controversial cabinet appointments, has provoked concerns about nepotism, ethics and national security, and experts worry he will go unchecked in office, despite federal nepotism laws.
A law enacted in the 1960s bars presidents from employing relatives. The law was passed after former US President John F. Kennedy made his brother, Robert, the head of the US Justice Department.
But as long as Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his children are not federal employees, whether paid or unpaid, they may dance around the law, one ethics expert said.
The expert, who asked to remain anonymous because of current representation for government figures, said that if Trump’s family members continued talking to him without giving any administration staffers instructions, then it would be difficult to find a law that they had violated.
US diplomats are also worried that if Trump allows his children and other relatives to work as informal ambassadors, they could undermine the carefully structured efforts of the Foreign Service.
“It makes us look like we’re some sort of banana republic,” one State Department official told POLITICO in a report published on Tuesday. “This is not the way that grown-up nations do things.”