A Cabinet of Deplorables
Photo by Wesley Hortenbach.

A Cabinet of Deplorables

As Donald Trump ascends into the White House next month, he will get to relive his Apprentice days.

Trump is in the process of selecting members of his future administration’s cabinet.

All fifteen of Trump’s cabinet appointees will have to be confirmed by the Senate, the same process for a Supreme Court justice nomination.

The Senate will have an even stronger control by Republicans come next year, so compromise will be needed.

Additionally, there are three White House staff positions that do not need confirmation.

During the campaign trail, Trump made several friends but also several enemies.

Trump recently appointed retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last year Trump tweeted, “With Ben Carson wanting to hit his mother on head with a hammer, stab a friend and Pyramids built for grain storage–don’t people get it?”

Rob Harper, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point associate professor of history, mentions that while this year may be an extreme outlier, it is not completely out of the norm for presidents to put former rivals on their staff.

Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton ran against Barack Obama in 2008 and lost in the primaries.

“Most recently, President Obama recruited former rivals Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton as Vice President and Secretary of State, and the three of them seem to have worked together pretty well. But that may have been easier because they are all more or less centrist Democrats, with similar policy goals,” Harper said.

Trump has picked out eight of 15 cabinet members thus far. Some are concerned because the representatives he picked seem to be in opposition to the message he campaigned on.

Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s choice for Treasury Secretary, was a former employee of Goldman Sachs, a big bank notorious for its government lobbying. Mnuchin, unlike many past Treasury Secretaries, has no background in governing or making economic policy.

Trump has also mentioned picking Mike Pompeo for the director of the C.I.A.

There is a lot more interest in this position because of issues regarding Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

On Nov. 18 for a CSPAN interview about Snowden, Pompeo said, “He should be brought back from Russia given due process and I think the proper outcome would be the death sentence.”

Trump has been one to praise whistleblowers like Snowden and Assange, which has made some of his supporters frustrated with these cabinet decisions.

Peter Zillmer, sophomore English major and president of UWSP Young Democratic Socialists, is displeased with how Trump is constructing his cabinet.

“The American people should not accept Trump’s choices,” Zillmer said.

Now more than ever, people need to be involved and informed in the political process. He doesn’t want people to just accept what is happening and be content.

“People should make their voices heard now. There’s no need to give anybody a chance,” Zillmer said.

Trump nominated Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary, but DeVos has no experience in education. She is a conservative activist for private schools.

DeVos has also been a political lobbyist and, throughout the 2016 cycle, gave $2.7 million to Republican candidates and political action committees.

Her largest plan is to make significant cuts to public education funding and put the money into vouchers for students to attend private schools.

Given recent controversy surrounding police officers, Jeff Sessions is another important character in this debacle as he is nominated Attorney General.

Sessions is a former senator from Alabama who was denied a federal judge position, stating that the KKK were “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”

Sessions is also infamous for showing skepticism toward the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Michael Flynn is officially the National Security Advisor or NSA, and unlike other cabinet positions, does not need congressional approval.

Flynn lines up the most with Donald Trump and has been a vocal supporter of his presidency from the beginning.

He has been a large advocate against Muslim immigration and earlier this year tweeted “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL!”

Last May on Al Jazeera, Michael Flynn said he would kill children and family members of suspected terrorists depending on the situation.

While this has outraged several democratic leaders in America, there is a deafening silence from the same crowd when President Obama is already doing it.

For Secretary of Defense, Trump chose James N. Mattis. Nicknamed mad dog, Mattis is a retired United States Marine Corps general who last served as the 11th Commander of United States Central Command.

According to the Arms Forces Journal, while leading a group of approximately 200 marries in Al Assad, Mattis said, “There are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.”

Photo by Wesley Hortenbach

Photo by Wesley Hortenbach

Attorney General of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt has been selected to head the EPA.

Pruitt has received criticism because of his close ties with the fossil fuel industry and his denial of climate change.

In an op-ed Pruitt wrote for the National Review about Obama’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions from U.S. power plants he wrote, “That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming.”

Nikki Hayley, governor of South Carolina, earlier this year said Trump is, “Everything a Governor Doesn’t Want in a President,” has been tapped as the U.N. Ambassador.

Harper noted that the characteristics of an administration’s cabinet are not something to downplay or pay little attention to.

“Nearly all of the major political scandals in U.S. history involved wrongdoing by either cabinet members or other top presidential aides.” Harper said.

There is a lot of worry about the lack of compromise Trump can have when picking members because congress is already on his side.

Harper said “Several of Nixon’s top aides went to prison during and after the Watergate scandal. Several of Reagan’s top national security advisers were implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal. So, President-Elect Trump’s choices could have a big impact on the country and on his administration, for years to come.”


Wesley Hortenbach




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