Trump administration’s parade of blunders could be due to decision to skip ethics training
President Donald Trump in North Charleston, SC on February 17, 2017. (Ryan Johnson/Flickr)

Pres. Donald Trump's transition team reportedly canceled a planned training course in ethics, leadership and management for senior White House aides, Cabinet members and appointees.

Politico reported Thursday that it has obtained documents that show the administration declined to educate itself about potential pratfalls, conflicts of interest and the very sort of unforced errors that have dogged the Trump White House since the day the president took office.

"The documents suggest the program could have better prepared officials for working within existing laws and executive orders, and provided guidance on how to navigate Senate confirmation for nominees and political appointees, how to deal with congressional and media scrutiny, and how to work with Congress and collaborate with agencies — some of the same issues that have become major stumbling blocks in the early days of the administration," said Politico's Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey.

The Trump transition team never awarded the $1 million contract for the training program because its priorities shifted, said a letter sent by the General Services Administration sent to potential bidders like Partnership for Public Service.

Politico allowed that the Trump team may have substituted its own program, but the current contract-based program was implemented in 2000 and both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations received the training on their way into office.

The Trump team was reportedly determined not to spend its entire budget and returned millions to the federal government unspent. Politico pointed out that some Republicans might see the training program as a wasteful use of government dollars.

"Several political appointees at agencies said they received very little training, and the time between the election and Inauguration Day was hectic. There has also been little contact between the political appointees at agencies and the longtime civil servants because of a lack of trust, several of these people said," wrote Arnsdorf and Dawsey.

Had the administration opted to include the course, it might have avoided certain key missteps, said Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) head and former White House ethics lawyer Pres. Barack Obama Norm Eisen.

"It looks like a good program, and I wish they had implemented it,” Eisen told Politico. "It might have spared them the numerous ethics and other messes they have encountered.”

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