Trump Transition Team Spurned Ethics, Management Training

Senior White House officials are sworn in on Jan. 22. Senior White House officials are sworn in on Jan. 22. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Trump transition team, as it shuffled personnel in the chaotic November-through-January preparations to take over the White House, backed out of contract for training the new administration’s staff and nominees on ethics and management issues pertinent to federal service, Politico reported on Wednesday.

The General Services Administration had put out a bid for the training, similar to training the Obama and Bush administrations received. But in a Jan. 10 letter to bidders, including the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, GSA contracting officer Matthew Gormley said Trump officials had cancelled the training.

“It has been determined that the requirements as defined in the RFQ do not accurately reflect the current needs of the Presidential Transition Team,” Gormley wrote, according to Politico. The training was expected to cost $1 million, Politico said, noting that the Trump team had pledged to spend less than authorized for the transition.

The training would have oriented Cabinet nominees, White House staff and other political appointees on such issues as leadership, ethics and management. It also would have provided guidance on executive orders, preparing for Senate confirmation hearings, collaborating with Congress and handling the news media.

The partnership confirmed to Government Executive that it had prepared a bid before the contract was cancelled. The group worked with such allies as the National Academy of Public Administration and the White House Transition Project for much of 2016 preparing to help the winning presidential election team navigate the transition period, processes that were formalized in a law President Obama signed in March 2016.

Members of the Trump team have drawn criticism for its dodgy rollout of executive orders, failure to address potential conflicts of interest, and ethics lapses, such as presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway’s improper promotion of Ivanka Trump’s commercial products from the White House press room.

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