President-elect Trump fills out his cabinet

by Sebastian Moronta Blanco, Staff Writer

The months between an election and an inauguration are always a shaky, speculative mess as the country tries to get an idea of what the next four years will be like. President-elect Trump has made several announcements about his cabinet choices in recent weeks, and we can start to get a picture of what Trump’s administration looks like.

I’d like to make a disclaimer.

Some of the picks on this list have certain backgrounds that have caused recent and long-time controversies, and while I will touch upon them here, I’ve tried to judge the nominations based on how qualified they are to do the job.

Starting with the choices that already have the job, the first is most likely the most controversial.

Donald Trump has selected Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist.

Bannon is a former member of the navy with an MBA from Harvard University and a master’s degree in national security from Georgetown. Beyond that, he worked at Goldman Sachs and as a producer on several political films and documentaries.

He’s known mostly for running the right-wing extremist news site Breitbart News for the last ten years.

The long list of questionable articles is too much to list here, but Google his name they are sure to come up. They are riddled with racist and misogynistic comments that call into question the values of the man who published them.

But hey, Trump is our president now, so this can’t really come as a shock.

The Chief of Staff position has gone to Reince Priebus, chairmain of the Republican National Committee and a former attorney.

The Chief of Staff’s job is just running day-to-day operations at the White House, so all things considered this pick isn’t too significant.

It’s important to note that Priebus is a political  insider, and has been for a long time. Trump ran (and won) on not being an insider (among other things), so this choice raises an eyebrow at least.

National Security Advisor goes to Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. At one point in time, he was among the country’s most respected generals. However, he has a long history with controversial remarks and was fired after two years as Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Flynn has spent most of his life in active service, serving overseas in Afghanistan and holding positions on multiple intelligence coalitions. Honestly, beyond the comments he’s made, his extensive military career makes him pretty qualified to do the job. Those picks already have the job, as they don’t need to be confirmed by the senate to work.

The picks following do.

Trump picked U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

He’s been a senator from Alabama for two decades and before that, he was the Attorney General of Alabama.

Beyond that, he’s against amnesty for immigrants and marijuana, denies the full effects of climate change, and has rarely made the news with the exception of the several occasions he’s fought immigration legislation.

I would have liked to see an attorney general who’s more of an attorney than a politician, but at least he’s served as an attorney.

Trump’s next pick is Governor Nikki Haley as ambassador to the U.N.

This pick is somewhat surprising. She’s a long time Trump critic and the daughter of Indian immigrants. She made headlines last year for speaking out against the confederate battle flag. It’s nice to see someone with contrasting views to the Donald with ethnic and gender diversity appointed, but just as I got excited I found out that she has no foreign policy experience. None.

She’s been described as “the least experienced U.N. ambassador in the history of the country.” That really ruffles my feathers beyond most of the other picks, just because like myself, many Americans are worried about Trump and how he’ll interact with the rest of the world. Picking another person who knows little of foreign policy doubles down on that concern.

Secretary of Education goes to Betsy DeVos, avid school choice supporter and billionaire daughter-in-law to the founder of Amway Richard DeVos.

She’s spent millions of dollars advocating for school voucher programs and for taxpayer-funded private charter and religious schools.

She opposes Common Core standards. Other than that,  she has no professional experience in schools.

I’m starting to see a scary pattern here. It’s also worth noting that she contributed millions of dollars to the Republican Party this election (although it went to the party not directly to Trump’s campaign).

Kansas congressmen Mike Pompeo has been selected as CIA director.

He has degrees from West Point and Harvard, and is a member of the Intelligence Committee.

He was also on the committee that oversaw the Benghazi hearings, and has been an avid Hillary Clinton critic.

The director of the CIA has traditionally been and absolutely should be a position with a non-partisan leader, or at least as non-partisan as possible. Someone with views as strong as Pompeo shouldn’t be in the role, as it’s the CIA’s responsibility to stay out of legislative affairs.

Finally, Trump has chosen Myron Ebell to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team. Ebell is a vicious, outright climate change denier who is quite possibly the only person who wants to dismantle the EPA more than Trump himself does.

This last pick is quite frankly horrifying. He’s stated his plans to remove regulations on the oil and coal industries, reaffirming what Trump announced he’s do in his first 100 days plan.

Overall, the picks are for the most part extremely right-wing conservatives with tough stances.

There are a few candidates with extensive experience and could be great fits for the job, but in large part a lot of these picks raise more concerns about a Trump presidency.

There are still plenty of roles to be filled, but at this point little much is confirmed.

Editorial Update:

Several more positions of Trump’s cabinet have been selected:

Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Development, Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator, John F. Kelly as Homeland Security Chief, and  James N. Mattis  as Defense Secretary


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