Appearing on The Diane Rehm Show on Monday, Gingrich acknowledged the problem posed by Trump’s many conflicts of interest, saying, “We’ve never seen this kind of wealth in the White House, and so traditional rules don’t work. We’re going to have to think up a whole new approach.” Gingrich also acknowledged that the possibility for corruption is serious—albeit in Gingrich-ian terms. “It’s a very real problem. I don’t think this is something minor. I think certainly in an age that people are convinced that government corruption is widespread both in the U.S. and around the world, you can’t just shrug and walk off from it.” In other words, corruption is a political problem more than an ethical one—because we live in age where people are convinced that politicians are corrupt and that politics is corrupting. (I wonder where they could have gotten that idea?)
But, even if you acknowledge that Gingrich is not exactly an expert when it comes to ethics, Gingrich’s solution is a head-scratcher. “In the case of the president, he has a broad ability to organize the White House the way he wants to. He also has, frankly, the power of the pardon,” Gingrich said. “It’s a totally open power. He could simply say, ‘Look, I want them to be my advisers. I pardon them if anyone finds them to have behaved against the rules. Period. Technically, under the Constitution, he has that level of authority.” Here, Gingrich was referring to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka Trump, who Gingrich has previously said would need congressional approval to serve in Trump’s administration.
So Gingrich’s way for Trump to avoid these ethical problems is to create huge new ones—to use the pardon to facilitate government corruption. OK!