If you’re going to accuse a member of President Trump's Cabinet of being corrupt, please at least follow through on the allegation.
Don’t just wink-and-nod at it like Newsweek did when it unveiled its latest cover art a few days ago. (It’s okay if you missed it — who still reads print anyway?)
Newsweek’s latest cover story, titled “Trump is leading the most corrupt administration in U.S. history, one of first-class kleptocrats,” is supposed to be a detailed exposé on the White House's alleged problem of rampant corruption and back-scratching.
“Trump’s jet-setting White House may be the most corrupt in U.S. history,” reads the story’s subtitle.
The cover art that went with the report depicts the president and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, straddling Air Force One as taxpayer dollars rain down. The artwork also shows former HHS Secretary Tom Price plummeting to earth, a clear reference to the former congressman’s unexpected and embarrassing exit from the Trump administration.
The inclusion of Mnuchin, Linton and Price on Newsweek's “jet-setting” cover artwork, which bears the none-too-subtle caption “Snakes on a Plane,” makes sense considering they've all faced scandals involving taxpayer-funded air travel.
Mnuchin, for example, came under intense scrutiny this summer after it was revealed he reqested an Air Force jet for his European honeymoon with Linton. Price also came under fire for his taxpayer-funded travel habit, which eventually led to his resignation as Health Secretary.
The weird thing about the Newsweek “jet-setting” cover art, however, is that it also includes Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. She is seated right behind Mnuchin and Linton.
This is weird because DeVos pays for her own air travel.
In fact, DeVos, who travels in her own private jet and at her own expense, is the exact opposite of what the Newsweek cover suggests. For crying out loud, even the to-date travel expenses she has submitted for reimbursement amount to just a mere $184.
By putting her on the cover of their "Snakes on a Plane" issue, Newsweek is resurrecting a very recently debunked media narrative alleging DeVos wastes taxpayer dollars on air travel. This simply isn't true.
Even stranger than lumping DeVos with Mnuchin and Linton is the fact that the Newsweek cover story doesn't even point to any examples of corruption involving the education secretary.
The report, which is more than 4,000 words, had only this to say about her: “[T]he education secretary, pays for her private flights (she is a billionaire), but she uses security from the U.S. Marshals Service, a highly unusual move that will cost the American taxpayer about $1 million per month. She is the first education secretary to have such extensive protection in recent history.”
That’s it. That’s all that the story had to say about DeVos, and that's what earned the education secretary a prominent spot on Newsweek's cover.
We asked it earlier this year when they published a story alleging Kenneth Starr was a "former Watergate investigator," and we'll ask it again: What's going on at Newsweek?