Donald Trump, President-elect of the United States, continues to hide in the shadows. He is reluctant to release information that will help us gauge what kind of Cabinet we are looking at, but from what we do know, it isn't looking good. It is, in fact, looking like "Big Business" has taken the White House and they are now going to flaunt it. If this list compiled by Politico is correct, they won't need to hire big money lobbyists for Big Oil or Wall Street -- they're already going to be in the President's cabinet. The bizarre list adds to the surreal trappings of "Trumpworld":
Trumpworld has started with a mandate to hire from the private sector whenever possible. That’s why the Trump campaign is seriously considering Forrest Lucas, the 74-year-old co-founder of oil products company Lucas Oil, as a top contender for Interior secretary, or donor and Goldman Sachs veteran Steven Mnuchin as Treasury secretary.
It appears that Trump's promised "draining of the swamp" (getting rid of corrupt politicians) means putting the people that corrupted the politicians in the first place in his Cabinet, cutting out the middle man. And instead of ending the much-derided cronyism, Trump is looking to reward those sycophantic toadies who supported him regardless of their lack of skill, intelligence or previous legal issues. Nowhere is this more glaring than in the case of Chris Christie. Christie's name appears as a possibility for Attorney General and three secretary positions: Homeland Security, Interior and Commerce.
Pam Bondi, Florida AG, is actually named by insiders as having a possible place as Attorney General of the United States as well. Yes, that Pam Bondi. The one who is embroiled in a pay for play scandal with Trump himself. You know, for dropping the investigation into Trump University fraud allegations in her state after getting a donation and a big old party from Trump. Those allegations may make it hard to get her appointed, though.
The other possibility for AG? Rudy Giuliani. You know, the guy that had "no role in," though absolutely knew that the FBI was leaking information to the Trump Camp? That guy.
Health and Human Services Secretary is also going to be very important. Trump plans to blanket repeal the ACA, including its protections against insurance companies using lifetime maximums for care cost and refusing to cover pre-existing conditions. The people on the short list are Florida Governor Rick Scott, Newt Gingrich, and even Ben Carson. However, there is one that should make all of us terrified:
One longer shot would be Rich Bagger, executive director of the Trump transition team and a former pharmaceutical executive who led, behind closed doors, many of the meetings this fall with health care industry donors and executives.
Politico's exhaustive list of probable candidates is a who's who of those who helped Trump rise and the one-percent establishment cream of the crop. There are venture capitalists, billionaire donors, a guy (Myron Ebell) that doesn't believe climate change exists for the EPA which Trump is now thinking he won't dismantle. This list is exactly why we feared a Trump White House.
Here are the Commerce Secretary picks:
Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, a Trump economic adviser, could fit the bill. Dan DiMicco, former CEO of steelmaker Nucor Corp and a Trump trade adviser, is another possibility.
Trump is said to also be considering former Texas Gov. Perry, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and even Christie for the job.
Because of who Trump is, an entrepreneur, a strategy may be at play here, too. His campaign may be floating the worst possible, most frightening names. That way, when they put up slightly less worse picks, they can point to it as "media spin" and "false narrative." It is common to tell people a project will take a little longer, or cost a little more than you think something will cost, so when you come in early or under budget, you look good. It could be that he is using it to continue to undermine this nation's press. He can easily deliver better picks than these giving him room to cry "unfair coverage": these are the worst case scenario. So, when the media report on his exact words in the future, his base won't believe them.
What is clear is that Trump's floated picks read like the exact oligarchic overlords his base believed they were voting to get rid of, peppered with the politicians who greased the wheels for him. What isn't clear is whether or not his base, which seems to have required very little from him up to this point in the way of specifics, will rebel against those same oligarchs and dirty politicians showing up in their "hatey changey" White House.