White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to questions following a report alleging that family members of Biden administration officials have been given top jobs in the federal government.
“We have the highest ethical standards of any administration in history,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki when asked by a reporter on Monday about whether there were “safeguards” for “preferential treatment.” Last week, The Washington Post reported that at least five children of President Joe Biden’s top aides have secured coveted jobs at the White House during the nascent months of his presidency.
During Biden’s campaign, he said that he wouldn’t allow family members to be part of his administration and attempted to fault former President Donald Trump over his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, for having roles at the White House.
Psaki told reporters that “ethics officials have conveyed” that Biden’s administration has the “highest ethical standards.” Without elaborating on why it would relate to potential ethics problems, the press secretary added that Biden’s White House is “the most diverse administration in American history.”
According to the Post, Psaki’s sister got a job in the White House, as did the wife of White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, and National security adviser Jake Sullivan’s wife, Maggie Goodlander, works as a counsel for Attorney General Merrick Garland. Federal law generally prohibits government officials from hiring relatives or facilitating their hiring. Several other officials’ family members were also named in the article.
Administration officials responded by saying that all staffers in the White House who are hired are well qualified for their positions.
“The president has instituted the highest ethical standards of anyone to ever hold this office,” deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates told news outlets. “And he’s proud to have staffed the most diverse administration in American history with well-qualified public servants who reflect his values.”
During his 2020 campaign, Biden claimed President Donald Trump violated ethics policies by hiring his daughter and son-in-law. Biden, who has long faced criticism over his son Hunter Biden having allegedly profited from shady business dealings in Ukraine and China, also made a vow to not hire any of his family members.
“No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in any government undertaking or foreign policy,” Biden previously told People magazine. “And nobody has an office in this place.”
And while the White House officials have stressed there is nothing inappropriate about the administration’s hiring practices, a former Obama-era ethics official disputed those claims.
“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 real [expletive] to us—and government ethics,” wrote Walter Shaub, director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics from 2013 to 2017, on Twitter last week following the Post’s reporting.
The White House has been contacted by The Epoch Times for comment.