From the moment Donald Trump was named “president-elect” on election night, it was apparent that he would have difficulty putting together a respectable cabinet. Too many serious Republican and Democratic politicians had already publicly distanced themselves from his erratic, racist, sexist, moronic campaign, as had most top military minds of any political persuasion. But with roughly half of Trump’s nominees now in place, it’s become clear that he’s not simply making bad choices out of necessity. He’s purposely putting the most inappropriate person he can think of in each role.
Ben Carson stands out as the most notorious example because he’s a psychologically compromised man who admitted to being an attempted murderer and who was last seen rambling about Lucifer during the Republican Convention. Carson also recently admitted trough his spokesman he doesn’t view himself as being qualified for any cabinet position. And yet Donald Trump has apparently begged Carson to go ahead and become his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – a position for which he has no qualifications and rather obviously no interest.
If Trump couldn’t find any highly qualified people who wanted to be his HUD Secretary, he could have simply picked some longtime middling HUD employee to be Secretary. At least such a person would have had experience in the agency, and known what HUD does, and for that matter known what the letters “HUD” stand for. But instead Trump made a point of choosing a lunatic like Ben Carson, perhaps because he wanted the optics of having a black guy in charge of HUD, or perhaps because he simply finds putting a demonstrably crazy person in charge of a government agency to be mischievously funny. But while Carson was the worst possible pick for HUD Secretary, he may not even the worst pick in Trump’s cabinet.
Elsewhere we’ve got Michael Flynn for Trump’s National Secretary Advisor, even though he previously lost his job in the military in part because he gave classified information to Pakistan without anyone’s approval. Trump is also eyeing David Petraeus for Secretary of State, an ex-con who may not be able to travel outside the country to fulfill the job because he’s still on probation from when he gave classified information to his mistress. But these hard core criminals make the list before we get to the outright cartoonish appointments.
Trump announced today that he’s putting Linda McMahon, an executive from World Wrestling Entertainment, in charge of the Small Business Administration. This is a woman who made her fortune by staging fake wrestling matches for entertainment. This one doesn’t even sound like it could be real, and yet here is, right here on CNBC. It seems the sports world is just as distressed over the McMahon pick as the political world is.
The other news today was that Donald Trump had picked Scott Pruitt to be the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. I briefly mistook this to mean that he had picked former NASCAR driver Scott Pruett (whose name is spelled slightly differently), which wouldn’t have been a shock considering his other pick today was from the wresting federation. But as it turns out, the Scott Pruitt in question is a climate change denier. In retrospect, the race car guy probably would have been a less horrible pick to run the EPA.
Oh, and did we mention that all around too-easy punchline Sarah Palin appears to be in line to be head of the Veterans Administration for no apparent reason? This is a mockery. Donald Trump isn’t making weak cabinet picks out of necessity, or even due of a lack of scrutiny. Because these aren’t bad picks. They’re intentionally bad picks. Every one of them appears to be a carefully crafted middle finger to mainstream America, just to mess with everyone. And he may only be making these nightmare picks to distract from his own corruption, so he can scapegoat them down the road. The pushback from Democrats in the confirmation hearings for these dumpster fire nominees is likely to be the stuff of legend.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report