Family members of President Joe Biden’s aides are securing jobs within his administration despite the president’s own pledge to avoid nepotism, according to a new report from The Washington Post.
Just two weeks into his presidency, Biden appeared to criticize his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, for bringing along members of his family to work as White House advisers.
“We’re going to run this like the Obama-Biden administration. No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in any government undertaking or foreign policy. And nobody has an office in this place,” Biden told People magazine.
The comment was an apparent jab at Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who both worked in the Trump administration as unpaid senior advisers.
Biden’s vow to keep family members out of his administration apparently did not extend to his aides.
According to The Post, “at least five children of his top aides have secured coveted jobs in the new administration. They include two sons and a daughter of the White House counselor, the daughter of a deputy White House chief of staff and the daughter of the director of presidential personnel.”
The pattern “continued this week with the Treasury Department’s announcement that it was hiring J.J. Ricchetti, son of Biden counselor Steve Ricchetti,” The Post reported.
J.J. Ricchetti graduated from college just last year. His father is one of the president’s most trusted aides, according to The Post.
But the nepotism in the Richetti family reportedly goes much deeper.
According to The Post, Shannon Ricchetti, a daughter of Steve Ricchetti who graduated from college in 2016, is serving as deputy associate director of the office of the White House social secretary.
Steve Ricchetti’s other son, Daniel Ricchetti, is currently working as a senior adviser in the office of the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.
Meanwhile, Julia Reed, a daughter of deputy White House chief of staff Bruce Reed, works as Biden’s day scheduler. The Post noted that Bruce Reed has long been very close to Biden.
“Beyond children, other relatives of top Biden aides also have secured high-level administration jobs or nominations,” The Post reported. “They include the wife of White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and the sister of White House press secretary Jen Psaki.”
The nepotism reportedly extends to the family of the White House’s director of presidential personnel, Cathy Russell.
Russell’s daughter Sarah Donilon, a 2019 college graduate, currently has a job in the White House National Security Council. Mike Donilon, Sarah Donilin’s uncle, is a senior adviser to the president.
The Post spoke to a so-called “ethics expert,” Walter Shaub, who condemned the nepotism in the Biden administration.
“While it may not be as bad as appointing your son or daughter to a top government post as Trump did with Jared and Ivanka, it is still bad,” Shaub told the outlet. “‘Not as bad as Trump’ cannot be the new standard.”
One White House official defended the nepotism, saying that all the hires were qualified for their jobs.
“The president has instituted the highest ethical standards of anyone to ever hold this office,” deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates said. “And he’s proud to have staffed the most diverse administration in American history with well-qualified public servants who reflect his values.”
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