Paul McGeogh analyses Trump’s executive appointments in the SMH.
When you look at their backgrounds, their religious views, their past policy pronouncements, their business activities and exceptional their wealth, it is difficult to imagine if much is going to change for the better in Washington.
- Steven Mnuchin is at Treasury – he’s an investment banker who pocketed billions in the housing crisis.
- Andrew Puzder is at Labor – a fast-food CEO, his contempt for a decent minimum wage is matched only by the disdain for workers
- Billionaire Betsy DeVos is at Education – as a supporter of “school choice”, her near-fanatical belief in charter schools and private instruction is read as a death knell for government-run schools.
- Former Texas governor Rick Perry is at Energy – a department he once vowed to dismantle.
- Tom Price is at Health and Human Services – he wants to eviscerate Obamacare and cut the guts from of Medicare and Medicaid.
- Elaine Chao is at Transport – she wants to rip the innards from regulations that govern big business, especially auto, aviation, railroad and pipeline safety.
- Alabama senator Jeff Sessions as attorney-general is an unambiguous two-fingered gesture to civil rights and immigration activists – Sessions is a strident opponent of the historic Civil Rights Act and of any immigration reform; he wants to strike down federal protection for LGBT victims of hate crimes
- Ben “God’s Hands” Carson’s only qualification to run Housing and Urban Development is that he lives in a house.
“To run the government, he has picked men and women who disdain the missions of their assigned agencies, oppose public goods, or conflate their own interests with that of the public,” Jamelle Bouie writes in Slate magazine. “It’s less a team for governing the country than a mechanism for dismantling its key institutions.”
The team is mostly wealthy – dominated by billionaires and multi-millionaires. By one calculation, the combined wealth of Trump’s 17 picks to date, more than $US9.5 billion ($12.67 billion), is greater than the combined wealth of the 43 million least wealthy households in the country – about one-third of all American households.
If the analysis of the demographic that elected Trump to the presidency is correct, then the interests of this demographic are completely unrepresented in Trump’s cabinet selections. There is no doubt that the Democratic voters do not want Trump as President but it is interesting to speculate whether the large number of voters in the mid-West Who propelled Trump into the White House, are actually getting the president they thought they were when they voted for him.
Unless Trump can deliver on the promises he made to these voters, their revenge in the mid-term Congressional and Senate elections will be severe. If they turn against Trump, then he could find himself in the White House without majorities in either houses of Congress.
This is a political situation that tests the skills of the most politically-savvy President. Time will tell whether the neophyte Donald Trump will survive.