Political News

Ex-ethics chief praises Trump nominee to lead watchdog agency

Posted February 8, 2018 9:38 a.m. EST

— Former Office of Government Ethics chief Walter Shaub, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump's ethics practices, praised the President's pick to lead his former agency Thursday, calling nominee Emory Rounds a "solid guy" and a "decent human being."

Shaub, who was the OGE director from 2013 to 2017, told CNN's "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo he "couldn't be happier" about the choice.

"It's nice to finally have some good news to report in this administration and I do have to give this one to the White House," he said. "They have made an excellent pick."

The White House announced the nomination Wednesday. Rounds served as an ethics counsel in George W. Bush's White House for six years.

Shaub's praise is notable because he has repeatedly slammed the Trump administration's ethics practices. In July, Shaub accused the administration of not following ethical norms, particularly when it comes to the President's refusal to sell his business interests. He has also taken presidential aide Kellyanne Conway to task for plugging Ivanka Trump products in a live TV interview, and he raised doubts about ethics waivers that the White House granted to its own employees.

Last month, he called White House counsel Don McGahn "a cancer who has done much to undermine anti-corruption mechanisms in this country."

For Rounds, however, Shaub had nothing but praise Thursday.

"I'm not going to hold him to the standard of being able to get President Trump to divest his conflicting financial interests, because I wasn't able to achieve that," Shaub said. "But I do think Emory Rounds represents somebody who's going to keep the agency running, hold it as close to its traditions as anyone can, and make sure that the day-to-day operations don't disintegrate the way they might if you got some politico who didn't know the government ethics program."