‘You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with’ — a warning to remember as Trump tries to play nice

Donald Trump appeared on 60 Minutes this weekend for the first time since being elected as President, and boy, did it seem like the dark cloud above America was about to be lifted. But, as Graham Vyse at New Republic noted, this shouldn’t reassure you.

“Stop it,” he says to his racist supporters. Not because he is disgusted by their behavior, but because it’s looking really, really bad, guys. But it’s not actually as bad as it looks, he says in another breath, claiming that protests across the nation are the product of “professional protesters”, not actual concerned citizens, and that he’s only seen one or two instances of violence or harassment as a result of his election (the Southern Poverty Law Center disagrees, citing over 200 incidents before the end of the week).

“Same-sex marriage is ‘settled’,” he says to his handful of LGBT supporters, reassuring them (and the right-wing family members and friends of LGBT individuals) that, no, really! He loves you folks! He loves you so much that he’s pledged to overturn executive orders protecting LGBT employees from discrimination and to reinstate the ban on transgender soldiers serving in the military. He acts as if he wants to protect the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the nation, but then tells debate audiences that his ideal candidate for a seat on the court would resemble Antonin Scalia, who spent most of his career halting the progress of civil rights for all minorities.

Panic amongst Muslim-Americans is “built up by the press”, he says, as if we all woke up one morning having had the same nightmare that Trump announced he would propose a ban on them entering the country, or that he might start monitoring and spying on predominantly Muslim neighborhoods.

Here’s the thing; anyone can say anything they want to. How they act… that’s another thing entirely. And sure, until January 20th, we won’t know what President Trump has in store for the nation… unless you look at who will be playing on Team Trump during his transition and, undoubtedly, will have jobs in his administration.

One of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever been given is attributed to Jim Rohn — you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with. If you extrapolate that to the presidency, a President’s true agenda can probably best be indicated by who they put in charge of the day-to-day tasks, doing the actual governing… well, it’s not pretty.

Ben Carson is on the team because the two love to spend time together. At one point, Trump said he’d be a great pick for Secretary of Education… Carson wants to monitor schools for political bias and withdraw funding from schools he deems “anti-American”, he does not believe in evolution or the Big Bang and in fact believes them to be the work of Satan, and he has repeatedly called for the end of the non-existent ban on Christianity in public schools. (Did you know? Ben Carson defends the “homosexuality is a choice” myth because in prison, straight men rape each other.)

Steve Bannon, his pick for Chief Strategist, ran Breitbart “News” for a few years before joining Trump’s campaign. And he’s just disgusting. He has wonderful views on birth control (not even close) and abortion (not at all). He doesn’t understand transgender identity and promotes the myth that “men who dress as women” are 49x more likely to contract HIV. When commenting on Paul Ryan’s plan to overhaul the nation’s mental health system, Bannon said, “I’ve got a plan to cure the mental health issue: spank your children more.” When commenting on the idea that the tech industry is rampant with misogyny, Bannon said, “women should just log off. Given that men built the internet, along with the rest of modern civilisation, I think it’s only fair that they get to keep it.”

Should I keep going, or are you still thinking that Trump was just kidding about all of that xenophobic, homophobic, racist and misogynistic stuff?

Peter Thiel — donated $1.5 million to the Trump campaign.

Ivanka Trump (daughter), Eric Trump (son), Donald Trump Jr. (come on, I don’t think I have to spell this one out for you), and Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner. Need I say more?

Washington insider Newt Gingrich.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Not sure who that is? The Trump Foundation gave a political group she’s affiliated with a generous $25,000 donation and then, mysteriously, she dropped a probe into suspected fraud at Trump University.

Rudy Guiliani, “America’s Mayor” in the wake of 9/11, up until the point where he decided to forget that 9/11 ever happened and blame Obama for giving birth to radical Islamic terrorism. He might become Attorney General! He might also prosecute Hillary Clinton for crimes that she has been found innocent of almost half a dozen times by this point!

My point is this: talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words, and when you surround yourself with toxic and divisive people, you can’t claim that you’re going to unify the country.

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