Trump Builds New Swamp in Washington
BY David Marulanda
President Donald Trump begun nominating the members of his cabinet and his promise to drain the swamp does not appear sincere. Many of his choices include placing large donors, fervent supporters, business partners, and family members in positions of power. The net worth of his selections exceeds $11 billion, making it the richest cabinet in American history. There is a feeling of cronyism surrounding this assemblage, and it seems unlikely those with this amount of wealth and power will be able to relate to the average American, including most of Trump’s fan-base.
Some of Trump’s appointments are confirmed, while others still await Senate approval. Here are some of his current picks.
Rex Tillerson: Chosen as the next Secretary of State, Tillerson has no government experience. His relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin puts into question Tillerson’s commitment to the American people, and his business and personal conflicts. Tillerson told Univeristy of Texas students, “I have a very close relationship with [Putin.] I don’t agree with everything he’s doing. I don’t agree with everything a lot of leaders are doing. But he understands that I am a businessman. And I have invested a lot of money, our company has invested a lot of money, in Russia, very successfully.” He was the CEO of Exxon Mobil prior to his government appointment and received a large severance package from the oil company.
Scott Pruitt: The former Attorney General of Oklahoma is the appointee for the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt has ties to the fossil fuel industry and received campaign donations from them. Furthermore, he denies global warming. Pruitt wrote in the National Review, “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.” He’s heading an agency the president wants to all but remove.
Jeff Sessions: The Alabama Senator is the nominee for Attorney General. Sessions has a history of “racially charged” behavior and comments. Sessions will hold a position that affects the way laws, particularly civil rights laws are handled and enforced. Sessions called the NAACP and the ACLU “un-American” at a Senate hearing in 1986 and later contradicted his testimony.
Stephen Bannon: The man who ran Breitbart News for years was appointed Chief Strategist. Breitbart is an “alt-right” media site known for fueling xenophobic and racist sentiment and has published unverified claims as factual news. Breitbart’s own stance on the alt-right: “There are many things that separate the alternative right from old-school racist skinheads (to whom they are often idiotically compared), but one thing stands out above all else: intelligence.”
Ben Carson: Selected as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the retired neurosurgeon and former Presidential candidate has no experience with the department’s subject and laws. Carson supports cutting welfare and other safety nets claiming they create laziness. As a child, Carson and his mother were recipients of government aid. In 2015 when speaking about government aid he said, “That’s not helping those people, and all that you have to do is look what’s happened since the Great Society programs of Lyndon Johnson. We’ve spent $19 trillion and we have 10 times more people on food stamps, more people in poverty, more broken homes, out of wedlock births, crime, incarceration. Everything is not only worse, it’s much worse. You’d have to be kind of stupid to look at that and not realize that that’s a failure and to say we just didn’t do enough of it. That’s what I call stupid,” he told CNN.”
Tom Price: Georgia Republican Congressman and surgeon is the nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary. Price wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act as one of his first tasks, but hasn’t been able to offer an alternative. He has received donations and been involved in shady dealings with pharmaceutical and biomedical corporations.
Steven Mnuchin: A former Goldman Sachs executive and Hollywood producer with no government experience is Trump’s choice for Secretary of the Treasury. Mnuchin has helped clients in the past stash their money in offshore accounts and has used tax havens for himself. Mnuchin also failed to disclose nearly $100 million in holdings during his confirmation hearing. During the hearing he was also pressed about how he’ll be able to maintain an eye on Trump’s foreign investments and provided no concrete answer.
Many of his choices — Tillerson, Carson, Mnuchin, Bannon, among others — are Washington outsiders who have no government experience. Many of his selections have been placed in positions where others, namely Trump, may benefit. The swamp is not being drained — it is being repopulated.