Trump and a great percentage of those individuals who voted for him claimed that he was going to shake things up and get rid of the career politicians who had created the political deadlock. Trump also appealed strongly to white workers whose livelihoods had been “destroyed” or threatened by globalization, saying he was going to change things
So far, if the biographies and backgrounds of those he’s selected for cabinet posts and high positions in the White House are any indication, while he may be shaking up a few of the more liberal Democrats, his appointees are largely billionaires, high powered executives, career military, or career Republican functionaries.
Perhaps I’m missing something, but I fail to see how Rex Tillerson, the head of ExxonMobil, is either going to shake things up or do much the average American. Perhaps benefit the fossil fuels industry executives, but not its workers
And what about the selection of Reince Priebus, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, as his White House chief of staff? How does that square with doing away with politics as usual?
Trump’s pick for Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, was deputy transportation secretary under President George H.W. Bush and served as George W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor. She’s also married to Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. How much closer to politics as usual can you get?
Trump’s pick for U.S. Attorney General is Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a twenty year U.S. Senator from Alabama, who, in 1986 was rejected for a federal judgeship by a U.S. Senate committee because of his racist views. In addition to his opposition to legal immigration, he’s an outspoken climate science denier, claiming that carbon dioxide is “not a pollutant,” it’s just “plant food.”
What about Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency? He’s performed essentially as a tool for energy companies and is in favor of totally eliminating the EPA. What he wants might be a great change, but I’d prefer to have breathable air and drinkable water.
Trump’s proposed choice to head Health and Human Services is Representative Tom Price, of Georgia, a twenty-year career Republican, with six terms in Congress and eight years in the Georgia state senate. Strongly supported by the American Medical Association, he’s also a fierce opponent of abortion and federal funding of any form of contraception.
Trump has selected Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive who served as his campaign finance chairman, as his pick for Treasury Secretary.
And for the Labor Department, Trump tapped Andrew F. Puzder, the chief executive of CKE Restaurants – and a donor to his campaign — who has criticized the Obama administration’s labor policies. Maybe I’m overly skeptical, but isn’t appointing a man whose work has been based on cheap fast-food labor setting up a conflict of interest?
The Trump choice for Commerce Secretary is Wilbur Ross, an investor whose fortune is estimated by Forbes to be $2.9 billion and who has advocated steep tariffs on China.
The choice for Secretary of Education is Betsy DeVos, who has spent over thirty years as in various capacities in the Republican Party, and was chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for four years. She’s also married to an heir to the five billion dollar DeVos fortune, and an education activist who is a passionate believer in school vouchers and choice.
Trump has also indicated that he is strongly considering Rick Perry, former Republican Governor of Texas, to head the Energy Department. Also, according to sources close to Trump, three Republican members of Congress are also under consideration to head the Interior Department:first-term Republican Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho, and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington.
The only truly “new” faces I’ve seen bruited about so far are Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News, as chief White House strategist and senior counselor, Wilbur Ross, and Ben Carson, the pick to head up the Department of Urban Development.
Add to that three retired generals, and President-elect Trump’s picks thus far don’t exactly appear likely to change the climate of politics as usual. It looks like three generals, five billionaires or top corporate executives, eleven career politicians, plus Bannon and Carson. Or something like nineteen to two in terms of old style politicians, executives [and generals are certainly executives] and billionaires versus Bannon and Carson. Now, as more names are released, possibly even as this appears, the numbers will change… but I don’t think the overall composition will.
And tell me, again, how this crew is going to improve things.