By Alan Singer.
Online there is a top ten and a bottom ten in almost every imaginable category. I thought it was only fitting to rank the ten worst Trumpster, members of the Trump team, starting with number ten. The criteria I used for assigning positions is their danger to the nation and danger to the planet. It was hard to fit everybody into just ten slots so I cheated twice, once with a tie, and once with a pair. Much of the information comes from the website Truth-Out and a composite bio put together by Agence France-Presse.
10. David Friedman is Donald Trump’s nominee as Ambassador to Israel. Friedman has no clear qualifications for the job except that he is former Trump bankruptcy lawyers and is aligned with the Israeli far right. Not only is Friedman unqualified, he is the anti-diplomat, calling Jews who disagree with his positions on Israel the equivalent of Nazi collaborators. Friedman’s positions supporting expanded Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands in violation of international agreements and on moving the U.S. embassy to the divided city of Jerusalem, will further antagonize U.S. relationships with the Islamic world. Friedman seems determined to enflame anti-United States terrorist actions. Rating: BAD.
9 Tie. Tom Price, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services and Andrew Puzder, Trump’s nominee as Secretary of Labor. It is hard to believe that Price is a medical doctor since he doesn’t seem to care at all about patient health. He is a leading critic and wants to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which provides health coverage to over 20 million Americans. Puzder is the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which owns the fast food chains Car’s Jr and Hardee’s, and will be an anti-labor Secretary of Labor. To keep his company profitable Puzder opposes raising the national minimum wage, which has been $7.25 an hour since 2009. Puzder also backs increasing using robots to displace workers and keep labor costs down. Rating: BAD.
8. I thought the Secretary of State was supposed to represent the interests of the United States. But it is not clear whether Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, will be representing his old company, ExxonMobil, or his close friend and business partner, Russian headman Vladimir Putin. For decades ExxonMobil was at the forefront of efforts to discredit climate science. Meanwhile, from 1882 to 2002, ExxonMobil production and products contributed about 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. But that’s okay because Donald Trump does not believe in human contributions to climate change. Rating: VERY BAD.
7. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. Donald Trump must have misunderstood the purpose of this position. The job of the Attorney General is to defend and enforce the Constitution of the United States, not to pretend it does not exist. While a Senator from Alabama, Session questioned whether the Constitution guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the United States, (14th Amendment), challenged the principle of separation of church and state (1st Amendment), declared same-sex marriage a threat to American culture, and voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. He was tried to gut the Voting Rights Act, champions the privatization of prisons, speaks against immigration and immigrants, and was once denied a federal judgeship because of racist comments about Blacks. Rating: VERY BAD.
6. For the Environmental Protection Agency Trump nominated Scott Pruitt, the equivalent of appointing an environmental axe-murder. As attorney general for Oklahoma Pruitt was a climate change denier who sued the EPA to prevent regulation of the fossil fuel industry. Oklahoma is the state that promotes unregulated fracking for natural gas, and as a result experienced 109 magnitude 3+ earthquakes in 2013, 585 magnitude 3+ earthquakes in 2014, 907 magnitude 3+ earthquakes in 2015. I guess Trump figures that Pruitt can work in tandem with ExxonMobil’s Tillerson to raise ocean levels and pollute the atmosphere – poor polar bears, coastal city dwellers, and people who breathe. Rating: VERY BAD.
5. Vice-President-elect Michael Pence. Standing next to Donald Trump, Mike Pence seems almost normal, so you have to look at his record in Congress and as Governor of Indiana. Governor Pence led a national campaign to defund Planned Parenthood, signed the most restrictive abortion regulations in the United States, called discrimination against gays as religious freedom, transferred money from public to private schools, threatened to actively violate environmental protection laws, and opposed any regulation of assault weapons. In Congress Pence tried to restrict funding to help people with HIV/AIDS, opposed anti-discrimination laws, and called for the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Pence opposes most immigration reform proposals, supports building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican borders, and tried to block the settlement of Syrian refugees in his state. Rating: REALLY, REALLY BAD.
4. Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education is Betsy “Amway” DeVos. As a teacher and educational activist I wanted to rank her lower (higher?) on my list, but there are just too many really horrible Trumpsters. If DeVos gets her way, say good-bye to public education in the United States. A right-wing billionaire, DeVos has spent decades and millions of dollars in campaigns to privatize, defund, and destroy public education in her home state of Michigan and in the United States. DeVos is a product of Christian education and she and her family members are involved across-the-board in rightwing activities including anti-gay marriage efforts and covert for-profit military operations. DeVos never worked in public education in any capacity and her children all attended Christian academies that she wants to fund with federal vouchers. Rating: REALLY, REALLY BAD.
3. Trump’s chief campaign strategist Steve Bannon will now be his right-hand rightwing man in the White House. Bannon was the executive chairman of the alt-right fake news Breitbart website. His appointment does not require Senate confirmation so there will not be public hearings on whether Bannon shares the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and white supremacist views promoted at Breibart. Rating: TERRIBLY BAD.
2. Ivanka Trump (Donald’s First Lady?) and Jared Kushner (Trump’s Senior Advisor): Trump’s daughter and her husband are the new power couple in Washington DC and offer a media friendly “socially liberal” veneer to cover over some of the President-elect’s boorish behavior. Part of the problem will be that the public will want to like them, think Jackie O and Princess Di, and not look closely at what they stand for and are doing. Ivanka will resign as executive vice-president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization but apparently will continue selling jewelry and clothing, trading on her father’s international brand name. Ivanka shoes are made by low-wage workers in China, but she appears to be shifting production to even lower-wage workers in Ethiopia. Right after Donald’s election Ivanka was involved in lending her celebrity to a New York City charter school network and selling coffee time for a charity affair to wealthy investors who wanted to get close to the Trump family. Jared, like his father-in-law, started rich and became even richer through real estate deals. While advising Trump on appointments, Jared was privately negotiating a Manhattan real estate deal with a Chinese company that has close ties to the Chinese government. Ivanka and Jared claim they will comply with federal ethics laws, but if they do not get paid for advising Trump, they might be exempt from the rules and be able to use connections and influence to make heaps of money. Basically will are looking at two very attractive and shifty characters whose main job will be to make Trump look good. Rating: TERRIBLY BAD.
1. Donald Trump, who chose these people, may be the United States’ first totally narcissist, megalomaniac President with the attention span of a tweet. Trump’s philosophy in life is to win at whatever the cost for other people. That might make sense in the real estate business, but it is a disaster for running a nation. Trump made millions bankrupting Atlantic City casinos while stockholders lost money, employees lost jobs and the municipality was left with bills it could not pay. The global economy and military system work to the extent that they do because since World War II the United States has defined its self-interest as maintaining functioning systems. Trump’s insistence on placing United States interests first, renegotiating all international deals, abandoning alliances, and winning at all costs is a recipe for World War III. Rating: SCARY AS ALL HELL