Trump's Cabinet is a Deplorable Swamp (Part One)
While Clinton famously accused half of Trump's supporters of being “a basket of deplorables,” President Elect Tiny Hands was bolstering proclamations that he was going to “drain the swamp” of Washington corruption. Being the pragmatic fellow that I am (sometimes), I'm all about giving Trump a chance. However, what all of the right-wingers who are shouting that we should do just that are failing to realize is that this is his chance. Trump has the world's attention, and this is his golden opportunity to show all of the non-deplorables in his camp that their support wasn't wasted. Unfortunately for Trump, his cabinet picks are failing to instill much confidence in those litigious Americans who bother to actually Google the backgrounds of the individuals in this tornado of unqualified and absurdly swampy picks.
Without further ado, here is a list of some of the people slated to govern under Trump.
Mike Pence-Vice President: Mike Pence was the Governor of Indiana who no one outside of the state had ever heard of until he became the poster boy for the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015. In a nutshell, the act was designed as a legal fail-safe for business owners who wanted the freedom to keep their money from coming from LGBT hands. It was not a popular bill in conservative or liberal circles, but I personally think there could've been value in it. If we made every business who stood behind that kind of ideology advertise that fact, I (along with every other LGBT ally) would know what businesses to avoid. As a straight, white male, it can be hard for me to identify bigots, since they rarely point their bias my way. Them having to be socially open about their views would help me be a more informed consumer. Maybe that's just me.
In the same bane, Pence once said during his Congressional campaign that "Congress should support the re-authorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior."
While the argument can be (and has been) made that this statement was pushing for safe sex, Pence's record on LGBT rights lands him much closer to a different notion. The idea that he was advocating for tax-payer funded conversion therapy for gay people isn't much of a leap.
Oh. And he briefly flirted with the idea of producing state-sponsored news in Indiana until everyone he'd ever met told him what a shit idea it was to follow in North Korea's footsteps, which speaks to the nature of the man's judgment.
Jeff Sessions-Attorney General: Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions is famous for being one of the last people alive today who thinks that Reefer Madness was an actual documentary, but it gets worse. In 1986, he 'joked' that he thought “the KKK was alright, until (he) heard that they smoked marijuana.” Now, I'll admit, that joke had a chance of being a brilliant and thought provoking piece of satire if someone with the right background delivered it. Coming from a guy like Stephen Colbert, it would have eviscerated supportive sympathies toward the KKK, while simultaneously mocking the absurdity of the drug war. Unfortunately for Sessions, being an old, white, Republican Senator from Alabama is not the right background for that to land.
Sessions is also a staunch opponent of legal immigration. Go ahead and read that again if you need to. I certainly did. Sessions wrote in an op-ed to The Washington Post that “Legal immigration is the primary source of low-wage immigration into the United States.” So, in his world, we can't legally allow people into the United States because they'll work for less, despite the fact that legal immigrants are legally required to make at least minimum wage.
And it's not just migrant workers that he wants to keep out. Sessions also wants to deny visas to people who work in science, math, and high tech fields. I guess all of that bootstraps talk from the right is only applicable in non-competitive economic environments.
Tom Price- Secretary of Health and Human Services: Price's job will be to oversee health care in this country, and he wants to slash Medicare and Medicaid. He's proposed a bill that would basically take federally funded medical coverage from 14 million Americans who can't afford to pay into the clusterfuck of the marketplace that is private insurance.
In addition, he's ardently against a woman's right to choose, and would like to take federal funding away from Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that they offer non-abortion related health services to 97% of the millions of people who visit them every year. That's the federally funded part, by the way. Abortions are funded privately.
Betsy DeVos- Education Secretary: Even among this group, billionaire Betsy DeVos stands out as a particularly (and bizarrely) bad choice. Her 40 year history with education work has been as a right-wing activist who fights for private schools. God knows, they need a champion.
It's DeVos's opinion that charter schools should get vouchers, which would undercut the already gross lack of funds going into public schools. This, despite the fact that there's absolutely no evidence that charter schools have any educational benefits that surpass public schools. But how the fuck would she know? Not only did she go to private school herself, but all of her children have as well. She literally has zero experience with public schools, yet she's supposed to be at the top of that pile that's responsible for educating the students that comprise the future of this country.
Dr. Ben Carson- Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: You may remember Dr. Carson as the perpetually sleepy Republican candidate who genuinely believed that the pyramids were built as Biblical grain silos. But now he's being promoted as the head of Housing and Urban Development. And, why not? He probably lives in a house. What more qualifications does he need?
The good doctor himself has admitted that he's inexperienced and wouldn't want to take a job that “would cripple the presidency.” This should naturally beg the question, what the fuck was he running for then? If he's worried that he may cripple the presidency with a cabinet position, then what the hell did he plan to do if he'd won?
Anyway, Mike Huckabee tried to take the fight on Carson's behalf to Twitter, stating that “Ben Carson is first HUD Sec to have actually lived in gov't housing. Fancy Nancy Pelosi says he's unqualified; is she racist or just dumb?” Firstly, Carson never lived in government housing, yet Huckabee assumed that he had. Why? Because he's black? Who's racist here?
Secondly, if Dr. Carson had lived in government housing, would that serve as enough of a qualifier for the position?
And, lastly, why is Carson, an outspoken critic of social safety nets like public housing, being put in charge of the agency that oversees public housing? Questions, questions...
Scott Pruitt- Head of the EPA: If there's an oil-soaked turd that's sunk to the bottom of Trump's metaphorical swamp, it's Scott Pruitt.
The Oklahoma Attorney General is an unabashed climate change denier, who's sued the very organization that he means to head multiple times over the subject of climate change. It's like putting Michael Vick in charge of the ASPCA. It's patently ridiculous to think that any good will come from this move.
Pruitt has a problem with the EPA “pinch hitting” for Congress, but has himself gone to bat for big oil, defending ExxonMobil against investigation from liberal state's attorney generals about whether or not the company failed to disclose material information about climate change. This is pretty hypocritical by nearly any standard. He's a wannabe oil tycoon who's best hope of getting that big, hard paycheck from the gas and oil industry will surely come from him being an insider lobbyist on their behalf, doing the work involved on our dime.
This is certain to be just the first in a continuing series about the saga of Trump's horrific choices for his cabinet. It's not my wish for any readers to despair to the point of suicide, so I'll put a pin in this for now. But rest assured, there's more to come. We haven't even gotten to Sarah Palin or Rudy Giuliani yet, after all.