WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Relatives of President Joe Biden’s top aides, chief of staff and press secretary have jobs in the administration, according to The Washington Post.
Ethics lawyers say it isn’t as egregious as former President Donald Trump having his daughter and son-in-law serve as senior advisers, but also say it’s no excuse.
The criticism, first reported by The Washington Post, brought a swift rebuke from White House press secretary Jen Psaki, tweeting from her personal account she “can confirm” that sister, Dr. Stephanie Psaki, has the job of senior advisor for the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Can confirm my job over the last 5 months did not retroactively get my brilliant sister a masters degree from Harvard, a PhD in public health from Johns Hopkins and decades of published work and respect in the field. She is more qualified than I am to be here,” Psaki tweeted.
Other family hires and nominations include the wife of Ron Klain, the president’s chief of staff, tapped for a state department position.
And the daughters of other senior administration officials working as the president’s daily scheduler and for the National Security Council.
Three children of senior counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti work at the Treasury Department, State Department and in the White House.
“There are a lot of family members getting a lot of jobs, so it’s going to boil down to, are they using their own connections? Or are they getting their job because of their family member in the White House?” asked former White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter.
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None of these replacements have jobs as high-profile as Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, serving as unpaid senior advisers in the Trump administration. Kushner handled foreign policy, including an attempt to bring peace to the Middle East, despite no diplomatic experience.
President Biden promised as he came into the oval office to never involve his own family in his politics when he signed a raft of executive orders on his first day — one implementing stricter ethics rules.
The promise the president made to not hire his own family is one he’s kept.
Painter says the White House needs to now go through these senior administration officials’ emails and investigate whether they encouraged hiring their relatives and possibly violated anti-nepotism law.