Well, so far it’s been a race to the bottom of a barrel with an ever-receding bottom. This is not completely unexpected–Trump had been pretty clear throughout the campaign about certain things he was unhappy about–environmental regulation, for example, or diversity, and things he was in favor of, like fossil fuels, in which he must have a sizable investment. So many of these choices are as bad as you would expect.
Except for one interesting fact–they’re so much worse than you might expect. Let’s see, a maniacal charter school advocate for education, perhaps no surprise there, but charter schools are starting to get rejected around the country–Massachusetts, for example (although I would never regard Massachusetts as indicative of what’s going on in the US, I should make clear). Elaine Chao for Transportation. A bunch of Wall Street guys for the economy. So much for draining the swamp.
But as Mrs W has pointed out, these are generally people who are diametrically opposed to the mission that they’re being recruited to take charge of. This is a take-no-prisoners approach to running the government. The EPA guy, for example, Scott Pruitt, and the guy managing the transition team for energy, neither of whom have accepted the consensus on global warming. Which suggests that Trump’s future nominee for Energy will have a similar mindset. And yesterday we had John Bolton, thankfully not for Secretary of State–that will be the oil guy, of course–but for his Deputy. So how is this going to work, exactly?
More to the point, how are some of these people going to get approved by the Senate? They all need to be, including at the EPA. Some will be no problem–Chao at Transportation is a given, since she’s Mitch McConnell’s wife. But Bolton and Pruitt (at EPA) are an entirely different matter, one would think. All it will take is for three Republican Senators to withhold their votes for some of these nominations to fail. So, Bolton? After Rand Paul and Mike Lee tear him a new one, how difficult will it be to find one more Republican Senator to break ranks? Yes, they’re not the most popular senators among their colleagues–but, then again, neither is Trump. And Pruitt? Are there really 51 Republican Senators ready to confirm an EPA head who doesn’t accept either Global Warming or the EPA’s mission? We’ll find out, I suppose. Yes, yes, the Republican Party platform said lots of stupid things about Global Warming. That was then. This is now.
Which raises a question in my mind. I don’t really know the ins and outs of DC politics, but I had always sort of assumed that when Presidents nominate people to things requiring Senate approval, there are some back room conversations about whether there will be, well, issues. Remember Harriet Miers? So what’s going on here, then? Is Trump (or his people) really having conversations with McConnell (or his people) to ensure that none of his nominees have difficulties? Really? How could John Bolton not have difficulties? Or some of Trump’s other picks? Would the Republican establishment, as exemplified by the Senate, really mind taking Trump down a peg or two? It will be fun to find out.