Trump Cabinet Picks Are on the Ideological Fringe

Well, if the thought of stomaching a Trump presidency for four years is not bad enough, his appointments are sizing up to be not  just representative of the conservative ideological extreme, but from the lunatic fringe. 

Take Steve Bannon, the poster child of the alt-right, white identity movement and formerly the chief executive of Breitbart News.  According to Bloomberg,  Breitbart News is ”a haven for people who think Fox News is too polite and restrained.”Bannon, after successfully guiding Trump to the Oval Office, is being considered for Trump’s chief of staff  though he may have to arm wrestle Reince Preibus, the outgoing Chairman of the RNC, for the position.  Bannon is known for his verbal abuse of subordinates.  Again, according to Politico, “"He’s also extremely malicious and vindictive. He has an incredibly short temper and an even shorter attention span. A megalomaniac." Sounds like Mr. Trump himself in that regard. 

Leading the Department of Homeland Security may be Sheriff David Clarke who is African-American himself, but has “described the Black Lives Matter movementas lawless, “subversive” and potentially ISIS-linked group composed of “black slime” that must be “eradicated,”” according to Salon. Ironically, he champions the cause of anti-government militants, whom he praises as patriots.  He has compared Beyonce to a Ku Klux Klan member and has called for literal uprisings against the government after President Obama supported gun control measures. He recently said anti-Trump protesters must be “quelled” for exercising their first amendment rights. 

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell will be handling domestic issues. Blackwell was known for his voter suppression efforts in Ohio in the 2004 presidential election paving the way for the Bush victory where it was not uncommon for voters in black districts in Cleveland to wait three hours or longer in line.   Blackwell is now a senior fellow for the Family ResearchCouncil (FRC) “which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled as an anti-gay hate group thanks to its promotion of “discredited research and junk science” meant to “denigrate LGBT people,” according to Salon.  Blackwell thinks that being gay is a “choice.”  Not to be outdone by Rev. Pat Robertson who has linked tornadoes to homosexuality, Blackwell has linked a mass shooting to the country’s crumbling “moral foundation” thanks to developments such as “the attack on natural marriage and the family.””

Trump has also named Kris Kobach to his transition team.  Koback authored the infamous “papers, please” bill in Arizona, which was later overturned by the courts. Under this draconian policy, law enforcement officials were required to try to determine an individual's immigration status during a lawful stop, when there was reasonable suspicion that the individual was an illegal immigrant likely based on such superficialities as having an accent or brown skin.  As Secretary of State in Kansas, Kobach is the mastermind behind the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, a tool used by many red states to eliminate from the voter rolls as many people with black or Hispanic sounding surnames as possible. Kobach is said to be the one that convinced Trump that Mexico would pay for the wall. 

According to Heather Digby Parton writing in Salon:  “There’s also a climate change denier for the EPA, a fracking billionaire for the Department of Energy and another oilman for Department of the Interior, although it’s rumored that Trump wants to hire a woman for that job, so the names of former governors Sarah Palin and Jan Brewer have come up.”

This list is by no means exhaustive.  There are many more Trump apologists and sycophants under consideration, like Rudy Giuliani for Attorney General. Trump has named ideologues and hate merchants to his transition team and Cabinet not based on any practical expertise, but of course based on their loyalty to Generalissimo Donald Trump. However, many serious policy professionals just would not want the Trump administration on their resumes in the very real likelihood that it is a disaster waiting to happen.  It is not unlikely that  by the end of his administration, Trump will be wandering the halls of the White House, like Richard Nixon, alone talking to the paintings on the walls. 

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