The Atlantic

A Cabinet of Conspicuous Corruption

Wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars by several secretaries follows a tone set by the president.
Source: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

For spring cleaning this year, President Trump is looking at his Cabinet. The Associated Press reported Monday that Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is near to being removed. When Trump fired H.R. McMaster as national-security adviser, that torpedoed a plan to dismiss McMaster, Shulkin, and Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, at once, according to Politico’s Eliana Johnson.

Shulkin and Carson face the same problem: dubious use of taxpayer dollars in their duties as secretaries. They can console themselves knowing that they’re in good company. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been caught in extravagant expenditures, too. Less heartening is the sixth example, Tom Price, who was unceremoniously forced out as secretary of health and human services in September 2017.

This extravagant spending around public displays of status—call it, with apologies to Thorstein Veblen, —has become a trademark of the Trump administration.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min read
The Window for Brexit May Already Have Closed
Parliament is delaying Johnson’s plan—and generational replacement has undercut its support.
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
The U.S. Is Abandoning Its Interests in Brexit
Gordon Sondland is a busy man. He recently testified to Congress about his role in President Donald Trump’s attempt to extort campaign dirt from the government of Ukraine. That testimony follows from Sondland’s previous deft maneuvering to insert him
The Atlantic8 min read
It Isn’t About Your Love Language; It’s About Your Partner’s
A framework meant to help people become more attuned to their partners now gets treated like a personality test.