White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the Biden administration's "ethical standards" Monday when asked how the current presidency ensures that the children of top officials don't receive preferential hiring treatment.
"Can you describe what safeguards the administration has in place to make sure that the children of top officials don't get preferential treatment in hiring?" A reporter asked Psaki at Monday's White House press briefing.
"We have the highest ethical standards of any administration in history," Psaki answered from the podium, noting that "a number of ethics officials" agreed and conveyed the sentiment. "And we're proud of that," she said.
Psaki added that they're staffed "at an unprecedented pace," also declaring it "the most diverse administration in American history."
She said the administration "expects that everyone will abide by those high ethic standards that applies to how we operate and how hiring is done."
Psaki's defense comes after former director of the Office of Government Ethics under the Obama administration Walter Shaub blasted President Joe Biden's nepotism.
"I'm disgusted," Shaub tweeted Friday, citing the administration's repeated hires of individuals who have close family and personal ties to officials.
"The jobs went to privileged kiddos with mommies & daddies who cozied up to POTUS. Nepotism is illegal," Shaub declared on Twitter last week.
"Do I sound bitter? HELL, YEAH, I'M BITTER! I'm the stupid moron who fell for his false promises," continued Shaub.
"I wasn't naive enough to think he'd be a transformative president. He told us he'd be plain vanilla. But I thought there was momentum behind his ethics promises. Boy was I stupid."
"But authoritarianism & corruption go hand in hand. If we don't clean up govt, we're setting the table for the next authoritarian," Shaub fired back.
Shaub reiterated that he is "disappointed" and "angry," given that he supported the President and provided help to both Biden's 2020 presidential campaign and the administration's transition. "...[B]ecause I believed ethics was going to be a priority. Well, it isn't even in the top 100 things the administration cares about."
Shaub isn't the only one who has taken notice of the "privilege" of multiple personnel hired by the Biden administration for choice positions.
In the first few months of the new presidency, at least five children of Biden's top aides have secured coveted jobs in the new administration.
In an article on Friday, the Washington Post cited two sons and one 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, who had been given plum posts. Other relatives of top Biden aides also have secured high-level administration jobs or nominations, including the wife of White House chief of staff Ron Klain and Press Secretary Psaki's sister.
Stephanie Psaki was appointed to senior adviser at the Health and Human Services Department in March while Klain's wife Monica Medina was nominated for assistant secretary of state focused on oceans and the environment. While both have extensive field experience, the revelations demonstrate that the familial web in the Biden administration extends beyond children of White House officials.
"She is more qualified than I am to be here," Psaki said of her sister, maintaining that she did not "retroactively" award the relative all of her academic accolades.