Email #62 , Subject: ethics investigation?

I keep reading negative press about you. First there was that fiasco over what you tried and failed to do to the Ethics Office, and now that very same Ethics Office is investigating your staff. Although it’s embarrassing that your own staff didn’t inform you they were working with the White House behind your back, at least you’re not personally being investigated. Which is why I’m so confused by your behavior. You act as if you’re guilty of something. When asked repeatedly whether your staff signed non-disclosure agreements with the White House, you keep not answering. It’s a pretty simple question. Either they did or they didn’t. Whether it’s wrong if they did is the next question, but that’s not on you. So why did you duck away from reporters while mouthing some weak excuse for why you couldn’t wait a few seconds and answer one question? It makes anyone watching and reading assume that you and your staff are all guilty of something. I wonder if there’s an algorithm for how many voters you lose each day you duck a question. Worse, your willingness to appear so foolish implies that embarrassment is nothing compared to the eventual outcome of the investigation. When I first heard about the non-disclosure agreements, they sounded trivial. Now even if they turn out to be trivial, you have deepened your public impression as a politician who can’t give a straight answer. If no ethics rules have been violated, why are you creating the appearance of a cover-up?

Chris Gavaler

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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