21.04.2018
You think Trump's appointments are bad? Look at the team that's supposed to be vetting them

You think Trump's appointments are bad? Look at the team that's supposed to be vetting them

With yet another totally unprepared, unvetted, ill-equipped Trump nominee on the stage, a new and exhaustive report from The Washington Post provides a timely look at how this administration's appointments are made. Sometimes, as with the case of presidential doctor Ronny Jackson to head up the VA, it's by the seat of Trump's pants. But when the Presidential Personnel Office (PPO) is involved, the whole thing doesn't look much better. It turns out that's because the place is kind of a understaffed cesspool, with a frat house atmosphere and built mostly upon nepotism.

[T]wo office leaders have spotty records themselves: a college dropout with arrests for drunken driving and bad checks and a lance corporal in the Marine Corps reserves with arrests for assault, disorderly conduct, fleeing an officer and underage drinking. […]

Under President Trump, the office was launched with far fewer people than in prior administrations. It has served as a refuge for young campaign workers, a stopover for senior officials on their way to other posts and a source of jobs for friends and family, a Washington Post investigation found. One senior staffer has had four relatives receive appointments through the office.

PPO leaders hosted happy hours last year in their offices that included beer, wine and snacks for dozens of PPO employees and White House liaisons who work in federal agencies, White House officials confirmed. In January, they played a drinking game in the office called "Icing" to celebrate the deputy director's 30th birthday. Icing involves hiding a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, a flavored malt liquor, and demanding that the person who discovers it, in this case the deputy director, guzzle it.

The White House confirmed that PPO officials played the Icing game but said it and the happy hours are not unique to the PPO and are a way to network and let off steam.

The Post reports that the offices for the PPO are a "social hub" where "young staffers from throughout the administration stopped by to hang out on couches and smoke electronic cigarettes, known as vaping." 

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