They should think more about atoning for the betrayal of their country than trying to escape the consequences of enabling a liar, racist and wannabe authoritarian. There are practical reasons for employers outside the right-wing bubble to reject not only those who were the face of the administration but also those who labored behind the scenes.
First, members of this administration probably acquired bad habits (ignoring gross misconduct, lying for their boss, etc.), practiced a great deal of willful ignorance and rationalized unethical conduct. The administration, aside from its corruption and moral rot, was also grossly incompetent in its day-to-day operations. Staffers coming out of Trump’s orbit would likely have to unlearn misconceptions about how functional workplaces operate.
Second, those seen as ethically obtuse and tolerant of racism pose a business risk. Clients and customers might not want to be associated with a firm that features someone who just months ago promoted their boss’s ludicrous lies or remained silent as he winked at QAnon conspiracy theories. Alumni of the Trump administration do not suffer from a political association but rather from their willingness to enable someone who betrayed his country’s highest ideals.
In other words, these ex-Trump figures do not bring desirable skills or valuable experience; they come more as a potential liability.
There is, as I have argued, a moral imperative to hold people accountable for their actions. Employees who obstructed justice, misrepresented facts to courts or lied to Congress must be held responsible under criminal statutes and professional rules of conduct. State bar authorities will need to step up to identify behavior, which, if allowed to go unpunished, would bring disrepute on the profession and set a bad example for others. If elected, former vice president Joe Biden will need to decide how to clean house, which might involve investigating and holding departed Trump officials responsible.
We as a country and as individuals need to decide whether those who are unremorseful, who seek no forgiveness and who admit no complicity in an administration that engaged in reprehensible conduct deserve to be welcomed back into “polite” society. It seems like another moral failing on the part of Trumpers that they whine about the stigma of their tenure without shouldering any responsibility to come clean and make amends.
You would think that before seeking cushy jobs, these Trump alumni might seek to make up for perpetuating racism and xenophobia, for their attacks on democratic institutions and norms, and for their efforts to sow division and undermine objective reality. They might consider community service. They might donate time or money to groups fighting racism, helping immigrants, defending press freedoms and teaching good citizenship.
No one forced anyone to work in this administration. No one forced them to stay to the bitter end or to conceal wrongdoing or to attack critics. These actions have consequences. Instead of whining about unfair treatment, it is time for Trumpers to do some self-reflection and figure out how to make up for the damage they have done. Then they might be fit to hire.