Brace yourselves for the Trump cabinet picks. The president-elect’s choices to help run the government range from very bad to much worse and together form a “cabinet of deplorables.”
The most recent choice, and one of the most controversial to date, was Trump’s selection of former Brietbart.com president Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor. Bannon is a white supremacist who peddled racism and misogyny at Breitbart, and he is down with the alt-right — a movement that espouses white nationalism and anti-Semitism. The announcement comes as Trump also tapped RNC chair Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff, viewed as a more establishment pick.
Bannon is bad, and his promotion is alarming, but he is by no means alone in what may shape up to become the most cringeworthy cabinet in modern history. Think of all of the nut jobs, the unhinged surrogates and water carriers who stood by the most outrageous — the most deplorable — presidential candidate in modern history.
Consider Senator Jeff Sessions, an Alabama good ol’ boy under consideration for defense secretary, homeland security secretary and attorney general, and the first senator to endorse Trump. Aside from his uncanny resemblance to the Keebler elf, Sessions was denied a federal judgeship because of his racism. A longtime foe of civil rights, Sessions falsely prosecuted black activists for voter fraud as a U.S. attorney. He reportedly called an assistant U.S. attorney “boy,” called the NAACP and ACLU “Communist-inspired” and “un-American,” and referred to a white civil-rights lawyer as “a disgrace to his race.”
Two other top candidates to implement Trump’s “law and order” policy as attorney general include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was responsible for a police brutality epidemic during his tenure, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose two associates are headed to federal prison for conspiracy in the Bridgegate traffic tie-up scandal, and who has a 21 percent approval rating in his home state.
The next secretary of the interior may very well be former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose claim to fame was serving as John McCain’s running mate in 2008 and accusing Obama of “palling around with terrorists.” If Palin does not get the job, former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer could. Brewer disrespected Obama by waving her finger in his face and trashed Latinos by saying they don’t vote.
One of Trump’s possibilities for secretary of state is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has a long history of bigoted remarks. Gingrich accused President Obama of engaging in “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior,” said bilingual education teaches “the language of living in a ghetto,” and claimed blacks fail to accumulate wealth because of their “habits.” Another person vying for the job is Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who was cited for a racist ad in his 2006 campaign against Harold Ford Jr. The ad featured a stereotyped “dumb blonde” who talked about meeting Ford “at the Playboy party,” winked and said to the camera, “Harold — call me.” Even Republicans denounced the commercial as racist, which says a lot.
Under consideration for homeland security are recently-ousted Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was recently charged with criminal contempt in federal court for failing to detain suspected undocumented immigrants; and Milwaukee County sheriff, David Clarke, who has compared Black Lives Matter to ISIS and has called for the protests against Trump to be “quelled.”
Then there’s Dr. Ben Carson, who is on the short list for the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. Among his many outrageous statements during his primary run for president, Carson said that a Muslim should not become president. Also a candidate for HHS are Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who “oversaw the largest Medicare fraud in the nation’s history” as a healthcare executive, and former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who left his state in a financial disaster and is a “lightweight,” according to Trump himself.
Former UN ambassador John Bolton, a top choice for secretary of state, is all for bombing Iran and a war in the Middle East.
And a contender for E.P.A. administrator is Myron Ebell, a director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a leading climate change skeptic.
Behold the deplorables. We knew Trump wasn’t right, and the list of crazy and corrupt folks he wants to fill his cabinet confirm that. But for the fact that this is some serious business — and these extreme, dangerous individuals will run the government and implement painful policies — all of this sounds like a practical joke. But now, with the characters about to populate the Trump White House, we might have to laugh just to keep from crying.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove