Office of Government Ethics trolls Donald Trump in bizarre tweetstorm

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In a series of tweets Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump walked back statements from last week that his being president does not obligate him to separate himself from his massive worldwide business empire. He is now saying he would be "leaving my great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country."

Notably, Trump did not divulge any details of just how this supposed separation would occur — and his prior plan, setting up a so-called "blind trust" run by his children, appeared to be a massive sham that would not actually provide any ethical safeguards.

But Trump's announcement did inspire a lengthy, bizarre Twitter response from the Office of Government Ethics, the federal agency in charge of managing potential conflicts of interest in the executive branch. As the agency thanked Trump for his "brilliant" move multiple times, saying things like "we can't repeat enough how good this total divestiture will be," it became slightly unclear whether it was in fact praising the president-elect, mocking him, issuing a veiled warning or trying to pressure him into a response.

It may have also just been having a good, old-fashioned Twitter meltdown.

As progressive site Think Progress wrote, one interpretation of the Twitter tirade is that OGE personnel understood Trump's statement as functionally meaningless from an ethical standpoint — and was signaling that actual divestiture is the only acceptable position for the incoming president.

In a statement to Slate, OGE spokesman Seth Jaffe wrote "The tweets that OGE posted today were responding only to the public statement that the President-elect made on his Twitter feed about his plans regarding conflicts of interest. OGE's tweets were not based on any information about the President-elect's plans beyond what was shared on his Twitter feed."

"OGE is nonpartisan and does not endorse any individual," Jaffe added.

Not everyone was impressed, however:

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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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