Finding a home in the upper echelon of President Donald Trump's Office of National Drug Control Policy - during an opioid epidemic, no less - is a 24-year-old man with precisely zero experience in government, law enforcement, or human health services.
Nailing down the specifics of Taylor Weyenth, a graduate student at Fordham University in New York, is somewhat tricky. The Washington Post notes that three different resumes exist for the deputy chief of staff, and they are not all in agreement.
His brief biography offers few clues that he would so quickly assume a leading role in the drug policy office, a job recently occupied by a lawyer and a veteran government official. Weyeneth’s only professional experience after college and before becoming an appointee was working on Trump’s presidential campaign.
Weyenth's initial post within the government was an assistant at the Treasury Department, followed by a move to the ONDCP after "his passion and commitment on the issue of opioids and drug addiction" was noticed.
How did climb so high in less than a year?
Weyeneth’s ascent from a low-level post to deputy chief of staff is the result, in large part, of staff turnover and vacancies. The story of his appointment and remarkable rise provides insight into the Trump administration’s political appointments and the troubled state of the drug policy office.
As noted by the Post, there is nothing within Weyeneth's education or work history that would allude to his placement in such a position, and complicating matters are the discrepancies between three versions of his resume.
- One resume indicated he worked at his step-father's company, Nature's Chemistry (see Washington Post article for full discussion on illegal activity at this firm) from 2008 to 2013; two others ended his employment in 2011.
- All include "MA Political Science" at Fordham's Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy - the first shows no dates for Weyeneth's studies, the others say his work was done from 2016 to June 2017.
According to the university spokesman, “a student named Taylor Weyeneth is enrolled in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham, in a Master’s program for electoral and campaign management. He has not completed his degree yet.”
- Weyeneth claimed volunteer work at a monastery for more than 275 hours on his first resume, from 2012 to 2016. On the second, it was more than 150 hours, and on the third there was no mention of the work at all.
Trump administration officials have acknowledged that Weyeneth's first resume included errors.