Office of Government Ethics epically trolls Donald Trump

The OGE, it seems, is playing for keeps.

CREDIT: AP Photo
CREDIT: AP Photo

On Wednesday morning, Donald Trump announced (via Twitter, of course) that he will remove himself from the operations of his companies to fully focus on the office of the presidency (“a far more important task!” he concluded).

The announcement was meant to quiet criticism that, so long as he retains control of his business empire, Trump will be inexorably hampered by conflicts of interest when he enters the White House. But ceding control of his companies (to his children, no less) without actually removing his financial stake in them does very little to actually mitigate any conflicts of interest.

The Office of Government Ethics, which is responsible for ensuring executive branch personnel don’t run afoul of conflict of interest laws, has been pressuring Trump to place his fortune in a blind trust, like virtually every president before him. But Trump has thus far refused — and in his Wednesday tweetstorm, he purposefully did not say he plans on actually divesting from his own company.

That omission was not lost on whomever manages the OGE’s official Twitter account. Shortly after Trump’s announcement, the OGE shot off a series of tweets mock-congratulating Trump for putting his conflicts of interest to rest by divesting from his company, which Trump very much did not do.

The tweets first appeared Wednesday morning, but were initially deleted before being re-posted shortly before 1:00pm, according to The Washington Post. There were nine similarly flippant tweets in all from the OGE, an uncharacteristic departure from its usual social media strategy of sharing such pressing updates as “OGE launches new Confidential Financial Disclosure Guide for OGE Form 450.”

A statement purportedly from the OGE was emailed to The Washington Post on Wednesday afternoon and, freed from Twitter’s 140-character limit, the agency again trolled Trump for refusing to divest his holdings.

“Like everyone else, we were excited this morning to read the President-elect’s twitter feed indicating that he wants to be free of conflicts of interest,” the statement read. “OGE applauds that goal, which is consistent with an opinion OGE issued in 1983. Divestiture resolves conflicts of interest in a way that transferring control does not. We don’t know the details of their plan, but we are willing and eager to help them with it.”

The message is clear: If Trump really wants to be free from any conflicts of interest when he assumes office, the only way to achieve that is divestiture. The OGE, it seems, is playing for keeps.