The timing must have been terribly inconvenient for Donald Trump and his team. With just two days remaining before he's sworn in as the chief executive of the world's biggest superpower, the president-elect of the United States had to write a check for $25 million
to help settle fraud lawsuits stemming from his alleged "Trump University" scam.
Never before in U.S. history has a president-elect had to face accusations of being a con man, making yesterday that much more extraordinary: while President Obama was hosting a press conference, celebrating the values that make America great, his successor was setting aside millions of dollars to pay Americans he's accused of ripping off.
Ironically, before Trump set aside the $25 million, Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary, told reporters that the Trump transition will become "the gold standard going forward
." But like too many things associated with the Republican, it's far more accurate to say there was a shiny veneer on the surface, covering up a transition that was surprisingly -- and unnecessarily -- terrible.
Every incoming administration runs into at least some troubles. It's inevitable: no matter how well prepared an operation is, a transition team is going to be caught off guard by unexpected problems. It's good practice for work in a White House, where events are inherently unpredictable.
But Trump's transition, silly "gold standard" boasts notwithstanding, has consistently been breathtakingly awful.
* Scandals and controversies
: Just since Election Day, there have been important revelations about Russia's illegal espionage operation helping put Trump in the White House. These stories have broken alongside controversies surrounding the president-elect's ethics problems, pay-to-play fundraising, and unresolved conflicts of interest.
: Trump, who received nearly 3 million fewer votes than his principal rival, was already on track to be the least popular incoming president since the dawn of modern polling. But in a striking twist, Trump has actually managed to lose public support as his inauguration has drawn closer, which is unheard of. The more Americans saw of their president-elect, they more his standing diminished. read more