Editor’s Note: Mike Pompeo was confirmed as C.I.A. director on Monday and Nikki Haley was confirmed as U.N. Ambassador on Tuesday. Additionally, Ben Carson received the full backing of the Senate Banking Committee and has advanced to a full senate vote, which has not taken place yet.
One thing that we can tell already is that a Trump presidency is going to be unusual to say the least. With President Trump in a fight with the media every day about something ridiculous he said/tweeted.
Trump is the most unqualified person to ever hold the office of the President. With no Domestic or Foreign Policy experience, Trump will be relying on the people he surrounds himself with. These Cabinet picks will have more power than ever since this president doesn’t really know what he’s doing.
During the summer, when the Trump campaign was still searching for a VP choice, the rumors started to swirl that Trump offered John Kasich the position. Trump allegedly offered Gov. Kasich the position of the “most powerful vice president ever,” putting him in charge of all policy, both foreign and domestic. This has been reputed by Trump’s team, but so has everything he’s ever said, so I will take that with a grain of salt.
Due to this, I believe it is imperative to fight back against Trump on these Cabinet picks. If he truly does take a “hands off” approach, much more power will be in the hands of his Cabinet picks without oversight from the White House.
Although Democrats don’t have the power to stop any of the nominees alone, they must vigorously oppose them. These Democrats in Washington are the people that told us that they would be the resistance. Start resisting. This does not mean to deny all of President Trump’s nominations. It is my belief that these people must go through some form of “Extreme Vetting” before we give them any positions.
Now, I am not saying that any of these are my number one choice for the positions. In a Trump world some of these may be the best we can unfortunately expect, others are so shockingly bad you almost have to wonder if this is a sad, sick joke. For example, I personally do not approve of “Mad Dog” Mattis being the head of our Defense Department, but General Mattis was able to talk President Trump out of waterboarding.
So let’s take a look at most of these Cabinet picks.
- Secretary of Treasury: Steve Mnuchin — During the real estate crisis of 2008, he joined a group at Goldman Sachs that foreclosed on homes of the elderly and made billions (foreclosing on one woman for less than a dollar). After Trump attacked all of his opponents for being puppets to Goldman Sachs, he plans to hire Mnuchin who made his millions there. Mnuchin is a huge concern for anyone who believes that someone who takes advantage of Americans at their weakest times does not belong in a position of power. Mnuchin also has been questioned about his use of off-shore tax havens and failing to disclose up to $100 million in assets. These are the type of monsters that Trump promised to drain from the swamp.
- Attorney General: Sen. Jeff Sessions — Sessions, 70, has been in the United States Senate since 1997. He was Donald Trump’s first supporter from the U.S. Senate. Sessions is a prime example of how Trump will look to roll back many of Obama’s accomplishments. The Attorney General should stand up for the rights of minorities, like Attorney General Loretta Lynch did with the Trans community. Sessions is a bigot and a racist; his nomination should scare anyone in the African American Community, Latino Community, LGBTQ+ community, as well as women, criminal justice reformers, and marijuana activists.
- Secretary of Commerce: Wilbur Ross — This 78 year old billionaire Trump supporter has spent his adult life resurrecting dying companies in the steel and coal industries. He is also adamantly against NAFTA and other trade organizations. He is worth around 3 billion dollars and has an art collection that has an estimated worth of around $150 million. He is known to use leverage buyouts, borrowing money to finance future acquisitions. Wilbur would not be my 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice, but I don’t fully object to him. He is one of the better choices that Trump has made, in my opinion. We also have to take a closer look at his financials; we don’t know much about him, worrying Democrats in the Senate.
- Secretary of Labor: Andrew Puzder — Puzder is anti-regulation, anti-minimum wage, anti-broader overtime, anti-Affordable Care Act, and most astoundingly he is pro-automation. Mr. Puzder is quoted as saying “I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American” about his Carl’s Jr. TV commercials. This is up there as one of my least favorite nominations. The most repulsive ideal that Mr. Puzder holds is his love for automation. He’s quoted as saying about machines, “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip and fall or an age, sex or race discrimination case.” Mr. Puzder has actually invested in machine automation. We should have a Labor Secretary who invests in our laborers.
- Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos — Chairs the American Federation of children, who promote charter schools throughout the country. Mrs. DeVos never attended a public school, never sent her kids to a public school, and has never been an educator. She served on the board for the Foundation for Excellence in Education (a group led by Jeb Bush that pushes for common core, something Mr. Trump is against). We also have to take a closer look at her financials; we don’t know much about her since she never worked in government. Her financials will be scrutinized much more closely than Mr. Ross as her finances are closely tied with the charter school systems. At Mrs. DeVos’s hearing it is clear that she knows nothing about Education Policy and clearly only has her position due to her estimated $200 million donations to the Republican Party. DeVos would aim to dismantle our public education system.
- Health and Human Services: Rep. Tom Price — Rep. Price chairs the House Budget Committee and has 20 years in private practice. He has been endorsed by The American Medical Association. Price, 66, is an Obamacare-repealer and his nomination means that the Trump administration is serious about repealing Obamacare. Rep. Price has spent the past 6 years working on repealing Obamacare. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader in the Senate, had this to say about Price: “Nominating Congressman Price to be the HHS Secretary is akin to asking the fox to guard the henhouse.” Rep. Price bought stock in 40 healthcare providing companies, around $300,000. Rep. Price then immediately wrote laws that would benefit these organizations.
- Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson — CEO Exxon, Vladimir Putin BFF, and has good connections in the Middle East and other Oil Nations. While most attention is being paid to the connections between Russia/Putin and Tillerson, much more is happening. Exxon was expected to sign a huge contract with Russia for arctic drilling until US and EU sanctions hit Russia. Now let’s see how fast those sanctions stay in place. Also, Exxon has for years denied Global Warming while having evidence that states the opposite. Mr. Tillerson must reverse course now that he may head up the State Department.
- Secretary of Energy: Rick Perry — I’m actually convinced this one is a joke. The past two Secretaries of Energy were Nobel Prize Winning scientists. Not only is Perry not a Nobel Prize scientist, or a scientist at all, Perry wanted to cut this department. He couldn’t even remember the name of the Department. Famously in a Presidential Primary debate in 2011, Governor Rick Perry said he would cut the Department of Commerce, Department of Education, and forgot the third (the Department of Energy), ending his response with an “…oops.” Perry actually assumed that the Energy Department had something to do with natural gas or another type of energy. While the Department of Energy actually is more of a national security department as they are in charge of our Nuclear arsenal, maintaining and transporting some of the largest and strongest nuclear weapons known to man. In my opinion Rick Perry isn’t qualified to be a Babysitter, let alone Secretary of Energy …oops.
- Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Dr. Ben Carson — This may be the only pick that could make the choice of Rick Perry of Secretary of Energy look like a good choice. The former neurosurgeon and presidential candidate has never held a government position, never worked in the House Department or as an urban community leader. Mr. Carson said he was not qualified to run the Department of Health and Human Services, a job that he would be much more qualified for than this position with HUD. A spokesman for Carson, Armstrong Williams, told The Hill, “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that would cripple the presidency.” Carson then took a position at a Government agency he knows nothing about. The only experience Carson has with HUD is growing up in an urban city (Detroit). When asked, by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whether he would use his position to aid the Trump name/business he refused to say he would not.
- Secretary of Transportation: Elaine Chao — Former Labor Secretary under President George Bush, becoming the first Asian American woman to become the head of a Cabinet department. As establishment as it gets, not only has she worked in another administration, Chao, 66, is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, making her half of one of the most powerful couples in Washington.
- Secretary of the Interior: Rep. Ryan Zinke — 55-year-old former Navy Seal and received 2 Bronze stars for his service in Iraq. Rep. Zinke is a mixed bag. He has gotten a lot of flack from conservation groups. Rep. Zinke opposed the sale of federal lands but supports mining and drilling. On the other hand, he is NOT Sarah Palin, who was reportedly up for the position. Dogged a bullet on that one.
- U.N. Ambassador: Gov. Nikki Haley — Gov. Haley, 44, is a GOP up and coming sweetheart. She doesn’t have any foreign policy experience. She received credit for her handling of the Charleston Church shooting and the confederate flag issue that took over her state in the wake of the 2015 church shooting. Gov. Haley is a perfect example of someone who in a perfect world would not be my choice (Rep. Tulsi Gabbard), but in this Trump world we are living in, I think she’s the best choice we can expect.
- Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt — Former Attorney General of Oklahoma, 48. A prominent climate change denier, saying that the debate is “far from settled” on whether man-made climate change is occurring. One of the fiercest critics of the EPA, he has sued the EPA 14 times over the agency’s efforts to reduce the number of children who are exposed to dangerous air pollutants that cause viral damage, neuro-damage, and asthma. He also targeted programs to protect vital drinking water to millions living in the rural US. This is the fifth nominee that is aimed to head a department that they do not think should exist.
- Secretary of Small Business: Linda McMahon — Founder of WWE and twice failed state senate run in Connecticut. In a Trump world, I guess the WWE is a “small business.” WWE have actually pushed small businesses down in the past, whenever a new smaller wrestling league tries to get off the ground.
With our future president getting into twitter fights with celebrities and yelling at CNN reporters, much of the important day to day work will get pushed under the rug. But these nominations will be the real movers and shakers in Washington. They will not get the attention that Trump demands, on an almost nightly basis, and that may be the best for them. This is why the resistance must start now, every selection must go through “Extreme Vetting,” if not meeting the standards, voted against and fought at every step of the way. This is a new America we are living in. We have to stand up and actually fight. No more Mr. Nice Guy, our President certainly isn’t.