President-Elect Trump is quickly filling his cabinet, and the Union is feeling more untied by the minute. Pundits keep saying there’s a big difference between the candidate on the trail and the official who takes office. In this case, it’s all spin and wishful thinking, because Trump’s picks can best be described as a shameful circus of the Wall Street Elite, the shockingly unqualified, the astonishingly untrustworthy, the enormously hateful, and the astounding freaks.
In the center ring, the Wall Street Elite.
Trump spent his entire campaign railing against the “Wall Street Elite.” Don’t take our word for it. He put out a campaign video (see below) pitting salt-of-the-Earth Americans against the Clintons, The New York Stock Exchange, George Soros, the ultra-wealthy, and the investment firm Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs was not in that commercial by mistake. “I know the guys at Goldman Sachs,” Trump told CNN February. “They have total control over Hillary Clinton.” He continually blasted her for the three high-paid speeches she delivered there. And it was their meetings that he referenced every time he declared something like, “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers.”
So who does Trump choose for Secretary of the Treasury?
The multi-millionaire investor and media mogul Steven Mnuchin. He is a 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, a co-investor with George Soros, and he made a killing managing the kinds of investments that brought about the Great Recession. His bank was cited by the federal government for violating safe lending practices and foreclosing too quickly on homeowners. It’s also being investigated for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against minority loan applicants. The list goes on and on.
Suffice it to say, Mnuchin is the very model of the Wall Street elite that Trump swore “betrayed our workers, our borders, our freedoms, and our sovereign rights as a nation.” So what the hell is Trump doing selecting Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary? Maybe it’s because they both have a stellar track record of making huge profits off of other people’s financial catastrophes. That’s exactly who you want running the Department of the Treasury, right?
To be fair, Mnuchin isn’t the only ultra-rich Wall Street insider Trump has chosen for top cabinet posts. He has named Wilbur Ross, an investor worth almost $3 billion, as Secretary of Commerce. Todd Ricketts, the billionaire owner of the Chicago Cubs, has been named Deputy Secretary. Ricketts is the son of Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, and got on Trump’s radar because he helped the Cubbies win the World Series.
Late-breaking update: on December 9, Trump announced he will take on Goldman Sachs’ President and COO Gary Cohn as his top economic advisor. Are we in a democracy or a plutocracy? Hard to tell…
Behold the horror of the shockingly unqualified!
Note that none of the three gentlemen listed above have any policy experience. And Trump is perfectly happy with that, because they’ve got money. Rest assured America, it’s not just the economy that will be run by billionaire neophytes.
For Secretary of Education, Trump has tapped billionaire Betsy DeVos. She was never a teacher. She hasn’t run a school. She hasn’t studied education. Her entire list of relevant qualifications is that she has a pulse.
DeVos is a political fundraiser and huge Trump donor. For years, her agenda has been to gut public school funding and break up teacher unions. That led education-historian Diane Ravitch, speaking to Mother Jones, to explain that “DeVos will become the most radical, anti-public-school education secretary since the Office of Education was established in 1867.”
But more to the point, DeVos embodies the “donor class” that Trump’s campaign kept arguing was responsible for the rigged American system of special interests. Trump swore up and down to “end the rule of special interests” and “pay-to-play” politics. That lasted all of what, 8 seconds?
It doesn’t stop there. Trump’s pick for Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, has never worked a day in public office. And Trump just chose Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. His entire resume is that he grew up in public housing (hey, since I like to shop, I’d definitely do a better job than Ross at the Dept. of Commerce). Don’t forget folks, Carson also believes the Fair Housing Act is Communist government overreach.
Now entering the circus tent, the criminally untrustworthy.
Trump is considering retired General David Petraeus for Secretary of State. Don’t get us wrong, the man has excellent bona fides, except for that conviction for mishandling classified information!!! The good General pleaded guilty after the Justice Department recommended he be brought up on felony charges for knowingly and intentionally sharing classified documents with his biographer, with whom he was having an affair. And he lied to the FBI, a direct obstruction of justice.
Hang on a second. For an entire year, Trump frothed at the mouth over completely baseless accusations that Hillary Clinton mishandled classified material in her email. She “put Americans’ entire national security at risk,” he screamed. “She’s the devil,” he ranted. “Lock her up,” his fans chanted.
In preparation for a barrage of questions about this, Petraeus went on ABC with a confident mea culpa. “Five years ago I made a serious mistake. I acknowledge it. I apologized for it. I paid a very heavy price for it, and I’ve learned from it.” Clinton said almost the same thing about her email server. She got the endless shaft, and never even disclosed any confidential information. But Petraeus, who knowingly committed a crime of national security? Trump looks right past it, and Conservatives cheer on.
The hatred and profane.
Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, is a basket full of shame. Like so many other top Trump officials, he has absolutely no public policy experience. Where he does have plenty of experience is being a white nationalist.
Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for Attorney General, has a long and storied track record as a racist. Did you know Sessions believes civil-rights groups are un-American? And there’s Sheriff David Clarke, a perfect director of Homeland Security. Clarke loves the first amendment so much, he wants anyone who uses Jihadist-sounding rhetoric in social media to be to summarily imprisoned in Gitmo.
For the Department of Health and Human Services, Trump has chosen Rep. Tom Price. The New York Times describes him quite bluntly as “a man intent on systematically weakening, if not demolishing, the nation’s health care safety net.” In addition to promising to repeal all of Obamacare, Price wants to drastically slash Medicare and Medicaid funding, overturn Roe v. Wade, and cut all funding to Planned Parenthood. In case you aren’t counting, that would put tens of millions of people right back in the position of having little to no access to healthcare! If that doesn’t count as hate, what does?
Who doesn’t love the freak show?
Let’s start with Lt. General Michael Flynn, who Salon described as “nuttier than a fruitcake.” He’s a truly apocalyptic choice for National Security Adviser, as we reported here. Flynn makes choices and then requires everyone prove him right. It’s exactly the same tunnel-visioned that the Bush administration used to justify the invasion of Iraq, by insisting our intelligence analysts connect Sadaam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks.
And back to Ben Carson. He’s the man who Human Rights Campaign said “can’t go a week without invoking reckless and irresponsible stereotypes.” The man who believes “Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” that most of the racism in this country comes from Liberals, that “Obamacare is really…the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” and that anyone can be President or a Supreme Court justice, except a Muslim. Just…wow.
By the way, rumors are floating that Trump will nominate Sarah Palin to head either the Veteran’s Administration or the Department of the Interior. She must be the circus clown that no one ever laughs at.
And the carnies who couldn’t get in the door.
Trump has a website full of changes he wants to make to the military and national defense. He fear mongered throughout his entire campaign of the imminent threats of foreign hostility that our nation faces. And the point-man he has chosen as Secretary of Defense is retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, who isn’t even confirmable without extraordinary measures. Mattis retired from the Corps in 2013, but The National Security Act of 1947 Section 202(a) requires that the Secretary of Defense “shall be appointed from civilian life by the President” and that “a person who has within ten years been on active duty as a commissioned officer in a Regular component of the armed services shall not be eligible for appointment as Secretary of Defense.” That ten-year waiting period was lowered to seven years in 2008, so Mattis is ineligible until 2020. Or Congress has to pass a special waiver.
Featured image from pixabay.