Whether you are a Conservative or a Liberal, you should be concerned with President Trump’s Cabinet level appointments. These are people who, you will see, cannot be trusted to be honest in carrying out their department responsibilities. So, how can you be certain that they will not make your Medicare more expensive or steal your Social Security?
Should you trust this group of ultra-wealthy, anti-Middle Class hucksters, lobbyists and 21st Century Robber Barons with your future? Take a look at what they’ve done thus far. Then decide.
Since Donald J. Trump says that he has the best Cabinet in our history, he must agree with what they are doing. He has given them his agenda and they are following his policies. We can assume that they are doing what Trump wants done. Based on their activities, he seems to want nothing more than the complete disintegration of our federal government.
The Cabinet is mostly made up of billionaires and multi-millionaires. Whether it is not allowing those cheated by for-profit educational schemes to recover their lost tuition or taking millions of acres of national park land and literally turning it over to private interests to drill or mine it, their agenda is not for the People.
Here is a list of those in Trump’s Cabinet and a few others, and what they have done to damage the country and steal some of the future from our children.
- At Agriculture, Trump appointed a hard-core Republican, former governor of Georgia, Sonny Purdue. Purdue, however, has a good background in Agriculture and in government. His Deputy is Stephen Censky, who also has a good background in Agriculture, but also worked for the Department of Agriculture before he was the head of the Soybean Association, basically a lobbyist for soybeans. With perhaps the biggest one-year loss (of the China soybean market) to Brazil because of Trump agricultural tariff policy, the American agricultural market, with bankruptcies happening and more on the way, is a disaster.
- Trump appointed as the current Attorney General, William Barr, after firing former Senator Jeff Sessions. Trump had also earlier fired James Comey, long term FBI director for not being “loyal’ to him, and ignoring General Mike Flynn’s involvement with Russia during the 2016 campaign. Barr is a lifetime FBI operative, apparently capable, not unpopular, even among some who are on the opposite side of the fence when it comes to Trump’s dealings with the truth. But others, insiders, say he has gone “in the tank” for Trump. In other words, he’s been corrupted in ways potentially very serious to the country and our freedom.
Barr is the one who recently ordered yet another investigation of Hillary Clinton. She had already been exonerated by the FBI once for allegedly not maintaining a secure enough server in her home office, even though it was set up by a State Department security official. Prior investigations by the FBI showed that no classified documents had ever leaked from that server. Barr was also the one who summarized former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Republican involvement with Russia in the 2016 election in four pages, virtually dismissing it and causing Barr’s own short, highly ridiculed report to be labeled as partisan nonsense. Numerous indictments and at least half a dozen convictions resulted from Mueller’s very thorough investigation. (which did not exonerate the President.) Not to mention that there are still pending indictments against Trump which can be delivered after he leaves office.
- At CIA, Trump appointed Mike Pompeo as Director, (the former so-called “Congressman from the Koch brothers”) then Gina Haspel a long time CIA operative. Even though she was regarded as qualified and supported by people like former Intelligence department heads, she was involved in the Bush II era tortures of Muslim prisoners. Let’s just say she wouldn’t have been the Bernie Sanders choice out of all the qualified and experienced CIA operatives to lead the agency.
- Trump chose Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce. Ross is an 82-year-old former business executive whose principal claim to fame is as head of a firm that made its money by closing other firms, selling off the assets and shifting the jobs to China. Ross was supposed to be worth about 2 Billion but it turned out that he lied to Forbes and is only worth a paltry $700 million. He took over an agency that has only tangentially an interest in business but is mostly data collection and science, Ross is not a scientist, has no science background and seems to have no interest in science or technology. He cut the budget dramatically. It cost the government many key and very important scientists, including Nobel laureates, who were so qualified that some left and were employed by universities or corporations virtually that same afternoon.
- Current Secretary of Defense is Mark Esper, a former lobbyist and key executive with Raytheon, a large military contractor. Trump’s original Secretary of Defense was General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, who resigned after a number of disagreements with Trump on policy. Esper’s former employer, Raytheon, spent $6.4 million on campaign contributions and $20 million on lobbying. Think he’ll recommend cuts to the totally out of control military budget?
- Original and still Secretary of Education is Betsey DeVos, who is intensely disliked by Democrats in the education field, the NEA, and by those who support both public education and fairness to adult students whose private education or training has left them without either funds or jobs. She is a Christian Fundamentalist who seems to consider that religion as one that should be infused into our public education system. To do so and for other reasons she is a strong advocate of charter schools, although her current attempts at improving education through charter schools has failed.
- Rick Perry, the largely sycophantic, notoriously inept and markedly un-scientific former governor of Texas was Trump’s original Secretary of Energy, replaced in December of 2019 by Dan Brouillette, his deputy and a longtime Republican, in and out of government and big corporations. It might be a good time to stop and contrast Perry with the Obama outgoing Secretary of Energy.
Here’s an idea of the difference between Obama’s idea of an Energy Secretary and Trump’s. Ernest Moniz, Obama’s outgoing Department of Energy Secretary, is a nuclear physicist who was head of the Department of Physics at M.I.T. and served 8 yrs as Clinton’s undersecretary of Energy. Compare this to Perry who has a degree in Animal Science from Texas A & M and has no background in physics or nuclear weapons and doesn’t believe in clean air, water or Climate Change. Reports say that Perry appeared to be “shell-shocked” by the demands of the job as Energy Secretary.
It also be noted that Trump also replaced the chief of the Department of Energy’s-policy analysis unit with Eric Trump’s brother-in-law (married to Lara Trump) Kyle Yunaska, a lobbyist for coal and has no background in physics or government.
- At the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt was Trump’s first choice, being a lobbyist for oil and gas companies, a man who, while in government in Oklahoma, sued the EPA 14 times on behalf of energy companies, and a man who does not believe that climate change is caused by carbon emissions. That tells you all you need to know except that he was fired or resigned basically in disgrace. Then came the current head of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, worse than Scott Pruitt, a longtime lobbyist for the coal industry. So, as head of the EPA we have had two of the worst candidates that could have been imagined.
- As Head of Health and Human Services, HHS, we now have Alex Azar, a Yale law school grad, he was basically a lobbyist for Eli Lilly. Azar has been a long-time Republican journeyman, working for Ken Starr on the Whitewater investigations of the Clintons, then the Bush Administration before joining Eli Lilly.
- As head of Homeland Security, we now have Chad Wolf, although given the changes in that agency, it is hard to know from day to day, given the fact that we have had 5 Homeland Security heads with the names, Kelly, Duke, Nielsen, McAleenan, and Wolf in the last 4 years. So who is to say who is in charge and who may have resigned, been fired or gone to jail?
- As head of Housing and Urban Development, Trump gave us Dr. Ben Carson, whose only claim to fame about housing is that he knows nothing whatsoever about it. There was an almost immediate scandal about how much Carson spent on re-decorating his office. But the big scandal is that Carson knows nothing about housing, and affordable housing is America’s second or third biggest literal crisis. He’s done nothing to alleviate it.
- As Secretary of the Interior, Trump appointed Ryan Zinke, who not only treated his department like a private concierge but transferred just about anyone who didn’t agree with his position that climate change from human causes was bogus. He was ridden out of town after a variety of misfires. For one, he gave away the largest return to private exploitation of national park lands, the two million acres of Bears’Ears National Monument. And in acceding to private investor requests that would have enriched him and his wife, he violated ethics rules. Once he was gone, the same kind of bird, his deputy, grand lobbyist David Bernhardt, took over to continue seeking ways to enrich the already rich.
- At Labor Secretary, it is the same kind of revolving door as other Cabinet positions. Alexander Acosta was Trump’s first Secretary of Labor. Acosta was the government attorney who gave Trump’s pal, Jeffery Epstein a pass on his sex crime with a 14-year-old girl, caused him to register as a sex offender, but shut down prosecution on 35 other similar cases and hid the details. Acosta was asked to resign in July 2019, when Epstein’s perversions could no longer be hidden. Acosta was replaced by Eugene Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, a highly pro-corporate, corporate attorney.
- Mike Pompeo is now Secretary of State. Trump’s first Secretary of State was Rex Tillerson, former Chairman and CEO of Exxon/Mobil. Tillerson was an unusual choice for Secretary of State until you consider Trump’s affinity for Putin and that Tillerson had made many oil deals with Russia. While Tillerson was at State, applications for positions in the State Department dropped by 50% and fully 60% of top State Department officials actually resigned or retired. For many months, long periods of time, these positions were not filled. Tillerson eventually grew tired of Trump, at one time calling him a “moron,” and retired. Trump moved Mike Pompeo from the CIA to fill the post.
- Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, was Trump’s choice to fill the position of Secretary of Transportation. Chao had been a very undistinguished Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush. A GAO report showed literally thousands of claims for unpaid wages, claims of child labor law violations, and lower-than-minimum wages being paid went unanswered or postponed so many months that issues became moot. As Secretary of Transportation, she refused to disengage from a company that made asphalt and gravel for roads and streets until the stock had risen and she made an estimated $40,000. She has favored her husband’s state shamelessly. After the town of Paducah, KY donated $331,000 to McConnell’s campaign, Chao granted Paducah a $377,000 project and then another project worth $251,000. In all, the Transportation Department under Chao has granted the state of Kentucky a total of $77.5 million in roads and streets projects.
- Trump enlisted former Goldman Sachs investment executive, banking executive and, later on, movie producer, Steven Mnuchin, as Secretary of the Treasury. Apart from the fact that Mnuchin is an extremely wealthy Right Wing, Conservative banker who seems to like flying on private aircraft, even if they belong to the government, and, like most financiers, never saw a tax cut he didn’t favor, Mnuchin seems to be relatively free of identifiable, censurable or prosecutable corruption, unlike many others of his fellow Cabinet members. Just because he seems free of prosecution does not mean that he is free of criticism. He is one of the key architects of the Trump tax cuts that resulted in a $1.5 trillion deficit in 2019, and will again in 2020. These deficits, in order to give tax cuts to extremely rich individuals, like Mnuchin, in turn have led to cuts by Trump in essential services. Trump has cut over $545 billion from Medicare and transferred another $300 billion to state in block grants which may never be used for Medicare at all. Medicaid will be cut even more deeply. Finally there are even some cuts to Social Security, which—we cannot repeat often enough—is a wholly paid for program belonging not to government at large but an annuity earned by individual citizen. Therefore, cuts to Social Security in order to give tax cuts to the super-rich is actual theft. Mnuchin is one of the ringleaders in that effort.
- Robert Lighthizer is the U.S. Trade Representative, a cabinet post. He’s a Georgetown and Georgetown Law graduate, with longtime legal trade involvement, and a former member of the Reagan staff as a young man. If you don’t want to blame Trump for our trade policies, you may want to consider blaming Lighthizer, as he is the one who has been negotiating and drumming up Trump’s enthusiasm for tariffs. If you have a barn full of soybeans that the Chinese didn’t buy, or some product that became too expensive for your kids for Christmas or you’re a bank that really doesn’t want to own a few thousand acres of foreclosed farmland, then you may already blame Lighthizer.
- David Shulkin, the holdover Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, was fired early on, about a year into his tenure. There was some controversy at the time about a trip to Europe that Shulkin extended and to which he added some time for a vacation. But the real reason, he says, is that White House insiders had always been urging Trump to fire him, and Trump finally found an excuse, albeit a weak one. The reason that people wanted him out, Shulkin says, is that he is not in favor of privatizing the VA, and some key Trump advisors are. So there is a case where a good Secretary was fired for bad reasons.
Shulkin was succeeded by Robert Wilke, a Deputy Secretary at the Defense Department. Wilke is known as a skilled and experienced defense department attorney, formerly part of the Rumsfeld insider group. He is also known as the man who has made multiple speeches praising Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and the Confederacy in general. While condemning slavery he sees the Confederacy as a “lost cause,” although he doesn’t explain what the benefits of that “cause” might be. He is the product of a career military family, apparently from the South.
- Trump appointed former Governor of Indiana, former House member and former radio talk show host, Mike R. Pence as Vice President, although no one in the Trump coterie seems to understand exactly why. Pence is not overly popular with the nation’s voters, not even that segment making up the state of Indiana. He is not particularly distinguished for legislation, nor for his management skills, nor for any semblance of charisma. Not much to say about Pence and so we won’t say anything more.
- Finally, Mick Mulvany was made Director of the Office of Management and Budget and also acts as Chief of Staff to the President. Mulvaney is a “conservative” former House member who presided over and lauds the largest national deficit in the country’s history. Before he was head of OMB and Trump’s chief of staff, he was vehemently opposed to budget deficits. Now he welcomes and approves of tax cuts that resulted in a $1.5 trillion budget deficit in 2020 and trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, damaging the lives of almost every average citizen in the United States. In his previous job, again appointed by Trump, Mulvaney all but gutted the Consumer Financial Protection Board, firing the board, cutting staff and removing its enforcement powers. He basically turned the agency over to pay day lenders and high interest credit card companies.
These are the Trump Cabinet members. These are the rich Right Wingers who now run your country, dividing up the spoils that they are so vigorously encouraged to do by perhaps the greediest, most deceitful and corrupt President in our history.