Even in the waning days of the Trump presidency, the administration’s corrupt and nepotistic urges remain just as strong as ever. Four years of using the United States government as a favors-and-influence distributor — and not to mention as his personal expense account — is culminating in the last minute appointment of Trump’s right-hand woman Kellyanne Conway and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao for cushy government “jobs.”
Conway was appointed to the Air Force Academy’s advisory body and Chao was made a member of the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. They were two of the most prominent members of a 30-person list of appointments that the White House quietly announced on Tuesday evening, the majority of which went to Trump donors, their families, and his allies.
Being neither an airperson nor a military member, it’s hard to see the Conway appointment as anything but another political handout. The board was “established to inquire into the morale, discipline, social climate, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, academic methods and other matters relating to the academy,” and Conway is qualified to do none of that.
Former board members and Air Force brass reacted with horror in response to the news, questioning the wisdom of appointing America’s second-most prolific liar to advise an institution of learning.
“Having somebody on the board who has — blatantly and publicly, multiple times, for everyone to see, including cadets — said things that are absolutely untrue — factually untrue — is just an assault on the Air Force Academy as an institution. It’s just a really bad idea to have a notorious liar on the board,” groused Retired Air Force Major General Irv Halter.
Former Air Force First Lieutenant Kathryn Smith, a 1982 graduate, did not appreciate the board being used to reward the president’s political allies.
“This isn’t a patronage kind of thing — this is a job where people are expected to do the work and to care. We’ve already been disappointed when members of Congress [who are also board members] don’t show up and don’t even send a staffer. I can’t imagine that Kellyanne Conway will show up to any meeting at the academy, or even the ones held in the D.C. area,” said Smith.