On the campaign trail, Trump promised, “I’m going to surround myself only with the best and most serious people. We want top of the line professionals.” Many voters excused his utter lack of experience and endless tirades of verbal abuse, misogyny, and bigotry because they believed his cabinet and advisors would have the know-how and temperament to make up for it. Well, his cabinet is mostly filled, so judge for yourself. Are they the best of the best? Or a human train wreck?
Are these really the “top of the line?”
Here are Trump’s nominations for cabinet-level positions.
- The Chief of Staff is a professional political operative who has never served a day in public office. (Reince Priebus)
- A self-proclaimed power-hungry white nationalist is Chief Strategist. (Stephen Bannon)
- A millionaire and big oil CEO to whom Putin personally gave Russia’s Order of Friendship is our Secretary of State. By the way, thanks to deals he brokered, Exxon Mobil and Russia stand to make half a trillion dollars if he lifts the sanctions we imposed on Russia over its annexation of Crimea.
- Homeland Security will be run by a sheriff who wants to imprison anyone uses jihadist-sounding rhetoric in Gitmo. (David Clarke)
- The National Security Advisor is a tunnel-visioned, obstinate, and paranoid General who is kindly described as “nuttier than a fruitcake.” (Michael Flynn)
- A war-hawk General intent on bombing the hell out of Iran is Secretary of Defense. (James Mattis)
- A billionaire Trump donor and political operative with no educational experience will run the Department of Education. (Betsy DeVos)
- The Environmental Protection Agency will be run by one of the best-known climate-change deniers. (Scott Pruitt)
- The Secretary of the Interior is a former Navy SEAL and two-term Representative, with an MBA and degrees in geology and global leadership. He lives fishing, hiking, and mining for coal and oil on federal lands. (Ryan Zinke)
- The Attorney-General has a decades-long record of racism and bigotry, for which he was denied confirmation to a federal judgeship. (Jeff Sessions)
- An incoherent racist neurosurgeon who thinks fair-housing is communist will run Housing and Urban Development. (Ben Carson)
- Health and Human Services goes to a Tea-Party ultra-conservative who wants to defund Planned Parenthood and cut federal funding to Medicare and Medicaid. (Tom Price)
- The Labor Secretary is another millionaire Trump donor, who opposes organized labor, raising the minimum wage, and rules to ensure workers receive overtime pay. (Andrew Puzder)
- The Small Business Administration will be run by a billionaire Trump donor who founded the WWE and launched two unsuccessful bids for U.S. Senate. (Linda McMahon)
- Wall Street tycoons who helped cause the Great Recession are taking Treasury and Chief Economic Advisor. (Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn)
- Secretary of Commerce, goes to another billionaire investor and Trump donor. (Wilbur Ross)
- A former Texas Governor who champions fossil fuels, and who promised on the Presidential campaign trail to close down the Department of Energy, is the Energy Secretary. (Rick Perry)
- The co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and heir to the TD Ameritrade fortune was chosen as Deputy Commerce Secretary. He and his parents are all huge Trump donors. (Todd Ricketts)
- For Ambassador t0 Israel, he has chosen a bankruptcy lawyer who rejects the internationally backed two-state solution, vigorously supports the construction of Israeli West-Bank settlements that intentionally antagonize Palestinians, and has likened Progressive Jewish voters as Nazi conspirators. (David Friedman)
- Who better to serve as our Ambassador to the U.N. than a GOP Governor whose entire resume of diplomatic experience consists of six trips abroad to drum up business deals in her state? (Nikki Haley)
- The Secretary of Transportation is perhaps the only truly qualified member of this motley crew. She has previously held the deputy position and served as Secretary of Labor. No disaster brewing there. Then again, she’s also married to the Senate majority leader, who just might have neglected to inform the American public before Election Day that he knew Russian cyber attacks were to help Trump. Quit Pro quo, Clarice? (Elaine Chao)
With these “top of the line” failures, what could possibly go wrong?
Aside from two nominees, no one on that list is top of the line. They are massively inexperienced and unqualified for the jobs they’ve been given. What’s worse, most of these appointments smack of the “pay-to-play” cronyism that Trump promised to eliminate in Washington. But the worst of all is that most of these nominees come from business backgrounds.
If you’re a business magnate, and your business deal falls apart, your employees don’t get a bonus. Oops. If you go under, it’s a small blip on the economy, because people get other jobs. If your building doesn’t get built, people find other houses. If your investment fund loses big, you remind your clients that they took on risk when they gave you their money.
Governing isn’t like that. We literally can’t afford “calculated risks,” uninformed dogmatic opinions, and choices that only look to next quarter’s earnings. Entire economies can crash from risky mistakes. An economic or environmental disaster can cost billions and affect millions of us for decades. Wars start. There are real body counts. And Trump’s cabinet has almost zero experience with this.
We just can’t afford to have these people figure out national and international governing by trial and error and on-the-fly.
Now that we’ve established that Trump’s team is a top of the line train wreck, what’s next?
There are a few glimmers of hope in all this.
First, if you feel like this –
– you are not alone. It’s important to know that. Second, make sure your Senators and Representatives know how you feel. Cabinet-level officials must be confirmed, and your lawmakers are supposed to represent you (their constituents). So speak now, or forever hold your peace. You can find lawmakers via the government website here, or via websites like CommonCause and OpenStates.