Simanaitis Says

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TODAY’S TIMELESS QUOTE was inspired, perhaps, by Oscar Wilde: “To lose one’s ethics adviser may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two looks like carelessness.” Proof of its timeliness comes from the U.K. as well as Washington, D.C. To wit:

Image from Cartoon Movement.

Boris Johnson’s Two Advisers. Apparently, the Brits take the matter of ethics seriously: Back in 2021 when Lord Geidt was appointed Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests, Gov.UK announced, “He brings a distinguished record of impartial public service and experience of Government to bear on the appointment. The Prime Minister is grateful for Lord Geidt’s willingness to assume this important role, and for the particular contribution it will make to the maintenance of the integrity of the Ministerial Code.”

Christopher Edward Wollaston MacKenzie Geidt, Baron Geidt, GCB, GCVO, OBE, QSO, PC, FKC, London-born 1961, member of the British House of Lords and Chairman of the Council of King’s College London. Image from The Guardian, June 16, 2022.

Prior to his role as Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests, Lord Geidt was previously Private Secretary to the Queen, 2007–2017.

However. On June 16, 2022, BBC News reports, “The PM’s ethics adviser has quit a day after saying there was a ‘legitimate question’ about whether Boris Johnson broke ministerial rules over Partygate.” 

BBC News continues, “His predecessor, Sir Alex Allan, quit in 2020 after Mr Johnson overruled him over a report into alleged bullying by Home Secretary Priti Patel.”

“The government said it was ‘surprised’ by Lord Geidt’s decision,” reports BBC News

Yes, governments often are “surprised”, aren’t they?

Kill the Messenger. In fact, The Guardian, June 16, 2022, reports that Boris Johnson is considering scrapping the role of ethics adviser: “The Liberal Democrat leader, Ed Davey, said: ‘Boris Johnson has no ethics, so it’s no surprise he wants to scrap his ethics adviser’ .”

Trump’s Multiple Messengers. Here in the U.S., the House committee’s Jan. 6 Investigation has aroused similar ethical advisers, albeit in delayed reaction.

For example, reports, “Listening to Donald Trump spout outlandish claims of election fraud, Attorney General William Barr began to wonder if the 45th president of the United States was in his right mind, he told the Jan. 6 committee in a video-recorded deposition.”

Image from NBC News, June 13, 2022.

NBC News continues: “I was somewhat demoralized,” Barr told House Jan. 6 committee investigators, “because I thought, ‘Boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with—he’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff.’ ”

Yes, one would think an “Attorney General” would be something of an Ethics Adviser, wouldn’t you?

Pence’s Persistence. NPR, June 16, 2022, reports, “Pence Prevented a Fall into Chaos, and 3 Other Takeaways from Jan. 6 Hearing.” 

Image by Susan Walsh/AP from NPR, June 16, 2022.

“The moment was dramatic,” NPR wrote. “Rioters had overrun law enforcement in the U.S. Capitol. Just 40 feet from the vice president of the United States and his team—and hearing the din of the rioters—the Secret Service was hurrying to evacuate the group, into a car and out of there.”

“But,” NPR continues, “Vice President Mike Pence refused. He was determined to finish the business of the government, to count the votes that would affirm the results of the presidential victory of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president, the very people Pence ran against.”

Trump Retaliates. NPR reports, “Even as the insurrectionists had breached the Capitol, Trump sent a tweet tightening the squeeze on Pence. ‘Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done,’ Trump tweeted, aware the rioters had breached the Capitol.”

Pense a Pussy? The Business Insider, June 16, 2022, related, “ ‘The conversation was … was pretty heated,’ Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, told the committee, according to video testimony first released on Thursday. ‘It was a different tone than I’d heard him take with the vice president before.’ ” 

Image from Reuters/Jonathan Ernst, June 16, 2022.

“Other aides went into further detail about Trump’s comments on the call,” writes the Insider. “And Julie Radford, who served as Ivanka’s chief of staff, told the committee that Ivanka told her that the president ‘just had an upsetting conversation with the Vice President’ in which he called Pence ‘the P-word.’ ”

Fie on that! Is there no decency to come from ethical advising?? ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2022

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