Walter Shaub, who served as the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics under former President Barack Obama, tore into President Joe Biden on Friday over his administration’s decision to hire the children of his top White House aides.
On Friday, the Washington Post revealed that at least five children of Biden’s top aides have joined his administration, including two sons and a daughter of the White House counselor, a deputy White House chief of staff’s daughter, as well as the director of presidential personnel’s daughter.
Shaub quickly condemned Biden over the “illegal” hirings in a series of tweets.
“I’m sorry, I know some folks don’t like hearing any criticism of him. But this royally sucks. I’m disgusted. A lot of us worked hard to tee him up to restore ethics to government and believed the promises. This is a a real ‘f*** you’ to us—and government ethics,” he wrote.
“Pathetic! The responses from people who spent 4 years complaining the other side was putting party over country are pathetic. They sound just like MAGAs. The jobs went to privileged kiddos with mommies & daddies who cozied up to POTUS. Nepotism is illegal.”
“This is ridiculous. What a f***ing failure,” Shaub continued, adding that such a “little problem so damn easy to avoid” signals that there’s a “much bigger rot” within the Biden administration.
Under federal law, government officials are generally not allowed to hire or have a hand in hiring close relatives.
In a statement, deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates maintained that the hires were all qualified for their roles. “The president has instituted the highest ethical standards of anyone to ever hold this office,” he said. “And he’s proud to have staffed the most diverse administration in American history with well-qualified public servants who reflect his values.”
“The White House’s defense that they had the minimum qualifications is total BS,” Shaub wrote. “The issue isn’t whether they were qualified (some weren’t). It’s that a WH that promised diversity is giving these privileged white kids with connected mommies and daddies prime jobs over others!”
Shaub served as the ethics chief from 2013 to 2017 under Obama and former President Donald Trump. Trump hired his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to work as unpaid advisers in his administration.
So far, Biden has upheld his promise not to hire members of his family. However, as the Post reported, he has hired the sister of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and the wife of White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
Shaub called himself a “stupid moron who fell for [Biden’s] false promises.”
“I wasn’t naive enough to think he’d be a transformative president. He told us he’d be plain vanilla. But I thought there was momentum behind his ethics promises. Boy was I stupid,” he wrote.
While the former ethics chief said Biden was still “better than Trump,” he argued that “a straight up crook” should not be the “standard for ethics.”
“Authoritarianism & corruption go hand in hand. If we don’t clean up govt, we’re setting the table for the next authoritarian,” he said. “Speaking of which, Biden’s administration is fighting tooth & nail to stop Congressional oversight—not just of this admin but of the Trump admin too!”
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment. This story will be updated with any response.