Professionalism and formal etiquette yet to be observed in the post-truth era
Regardless of your political views, there’s no doubt that the Trump administration is easily one of the most controversial in recent North American history. From the way its executives talk to the way they act, it seems no one can go a week, let alone a day, without the administration coming up in conversation.
Recently, a viral photo taken in the Oval Office was the subject of public scrutiny. In it, the president is meeting with a group of representatives and leaders of several African American colleges, shaking hands with them and posing for a photo. However, the bigger focus was on Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, who was captured sitting with her feet up on the couch, in a kneeling position, on her phone, no less.
This picture isn’t just worth a thousand words. It’s almost a perfect metaphor for exactly how the administration is treating their appointment to the White House. One might expect their kid to sit like that in their bedroom or living room couch, but we’re talking about the counselor to the president of the United States here, not a bored teenager taking a snapshot at a family gathering. Officials such as Conway and Spicer have put themselves into precarious positions by opting to throw traditional etiquette and courtesies out the window in favour of appearing like people who can “shake up” Washington.
With these newly appointed members of staff in the White House, it just doesn’t seem to register with them that the office they’ve been granted the privilege to occupy comes with very serious responsibilities. Instead, with this administration, what we’re witnessing seems closer to a violent shakedown. Those who are inexperienced are revered and those who have an adversarial track record with the very departments they’re being appointed to run are celebrated and touted as strong leaders, worthy of praise and admiration. From what we have seen of the administration in such a short time in office, it would hardly come as a surprise if Conway were sitting that way during a meeting with Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Frankly, they’ve refused to take responsibility and prioritize the critical work they’ve been hired to do. No, these guys are too cool to act like politicians, because they aren’t like all the other liars and crooks in Washington. They are going to provide alternative facts, because the enemy of the people (read: free press) are not being “nice” to them. They are going to opt out of frivolous things like security and legal briefings, so they can excuse themselves and shift the blame onto others when they find themselves in hot water.
Who would have known that occupying the country’s highest office would require solving such complex and intricate problems? Surely not those with bad experience who have dedicated years and years of their lives to public service.
It’s not only how Conway was sitting that reflects the ethos of the Trump administration. What it really boils down to is professionalism – something the Trump Administration clearly doesn’t even know the definition of. Right now, there are people in the White House who have openly and proudly demonstrated that they care little for things that will affect the lives and well being of real human beings. Morals, ethics and empathy seem to mean nothing to those who are in control of the Trump administration.
Both the right and left wing have people who care deeply about these issues, but the tragedy is that none of them are sitting in the Oval Office.
Campus Life Editor
Community Relations Manager
Arts and Culture Editor