The Atlantic

A Cabinet of Conspicuous Corruption

Wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars by several secretaries follows a tone set by the president.
Source: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

For spring cleaning this year, President Trump is looking at his Cabinet. The Associated Press reported Monday that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is near to being removed. When Trump fired H.R. McMaster as national-security adviser, that torpedoed a plan to dismiss McMaster, Shulkin, and Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, at once, according to Politico’s Eliana Johnson.

Shulkin and Carson face the same problem: dubious use of taxpayer dollars in their duties as secretaries. They can console themselves knowing that they’re in good company. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been caught in extravagant expenditures, too. Less heartening is the sixth example, Tom Price, who was unceremoniously forced out as secretary of health and human services in September 2017.

This extravagant spending around public displays of status—call it, with apologies to Thorstein Veblen, —has become a trademark of the Trump administration.

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