The new guy, in this case, is Taylor Weyeneth, who was recently appointed deputy chief of staff of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. That office coordinates the federal government’s anti-drug initiatives, including the recently launched campaign to address the opioid crisis.
Deputy chief of staff sounds like a pretty important job, so Taylor presumably brings pretty impressive credentials to his work.
If he did, do you think The Curmudgeon would be writing about him?
Actually, Taylor is 24 years old, a 2016 graduate of St. John’s University. This is his first professional job; the only thing he did between finishing college and starting in the Office of National Drug Control Policy is…
…you know it’s coming…
…serve as a volunteer in the Trump campaign.
Taylor’s ascent reflects two things: first, that being part of the campaign is considered a qualification for high office by the Trump administration, which clearly values loyalty over ability; and second, that the Trump administration isn’t terribly interested in the opioid problem.
The Curmudgeon, on the other hand, is very interested in Taylor Weyeneth (henceforth “Young Taylor”), whose background is as fascinating as his ascent.
Young Taylor has two résumés on file with the federal government and a third that the federal government released to the Washington Post.
And of course they all tell slightly different stories.
All three résumés boast of a master’s degree from Fordham University. Just one minor problem there: Fordham hasn’t awarded Young Taylor a master’s degree. The Post knows: it asked the folks at Fordham.
One of the résumés says Young Taylor volunteered for 275 hours at the Passionist Monastery in Queens. Another says he volunteered for more than 150 hours. The résumé the White House gave the Post doesn’t mention the monastery at all.
Well, at least we know he volunteered at a monastery, right? Well, no, not right: the folks at the monastery say they’ve never heard of Young Taylor.
Young Taylor’s résumé also notes that when he was in high school he was director of production for a company called Nature’s Chemistry, a family-run business that the Post describes as “…specializing in processing chia seeds and other health products.” Two of Young Taylor’s résumés say he worked there from 2008 to 2011 but the third says he worked there from 2008-2016.
Does this degree of unabashed self-promotion, the truth be damned, remind you of anyone?
And while Young Taylor was there, the Post reports,
…the firm was secretly processing illegal steroids from China as part of a conspiracy involving people from Virginia, California and elsewhere in the United States and one person in China, federal court records show. Weyeneth’s stepfather, Matthew Graecen, pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge last year and received two years probation and a fine.
Leaving one to wonder: how can a company’s director of production, even if he’s a teenager, not know what his company is producing?
So what do we have here? A high-ranking member of the administration who has risen to a position for which he has no qualifications and who also has a father who’s a crook. Does that remind you of anyone?
Maybe The Curmudgeon is just being naïve in finding Young Taylor’s ascent surprising even according to the exceedingly low standards set by the Trump administration. We know loyalty counts more than ability in those circles, but the other thing this tell us is that these folks really, really don’t care about the opioid crisis. After all, if they did care, would they have a 24-year-old deputy chief of staff and would they have proposed just last week a 95 percent cut – 95 percent! – in the office’s budget?