November 13, 2016

Trump: In Transition (v1)

Reuters photo
Donald Trump reconfigured his transition team the other day, adding clarity to how his 'outsider' campaign is approaching the mind-numbing process of building a government.

As has been widely reported, including on the new GreatAgain.gov website (bookmarked that one, I sure did), Trump will have the opportunity to fill some 4,000 positions, over a quarter of which will need Senate approval. Dust off your resumes, if you're interested in working in the #MAGA administration, now's your chance!

Here's the team that's going to help him get ready to lead:
  • Dr. Ben Carson
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who had been leading the effort, and for whom the bell tolled after the conviction of two close aides in the Bridgegate scandal; word has it that Trump started losing trust after Christie failed to go along with theGropegate denial plan, and that seeing former Christie aide Bridget Kelly crying on TV was the last straw. 
  • Georgia's Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, who suggested in June, in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting, that we need a new House Un-American Activities Committee to address the issue of ISIS infiltration. You know, root them out, make wildly crazy accusations, in the most Un-American way possible. He apparently forgot that the shooter was reported to the FBI and cleared (twice, if I recall), and that, based on the shooter's participation in the gay community, his allegiance to ISIS would seem to be in doubt.  As Dave Chappelle noted on SNL last night, if he yelled "Wu Tang" before engaging in sexual activities with a young lady, it doesn't mean that he's a member of the Wu Tang Clan. He (Gingrich, not Chappelle) also said we need to test all Muslims in the country but I doubt he'd agree with me that there are lots of other people who should be tested similarly to make sure they share my American values.
  • Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, USA (Ret.), who apparently made quite a dent at an intelligence briefing, and has been called America's angriest general. As noted in both of these links, he was one of the 'lock her up' cheerleaders at the Five Dark Days in Cleveland.
  • U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, who's been representing Alabama in Washington for 20 years, and who was known for being quite, shall we say, colorful. I particularly enjoyed his reported comments about the KKK.
  • Pennsylvania Congressman Lou Barletta, reported to be an immigration hardliner, who gets a lot of financial support from the infrastructure space, and fellow Keystone stater Tom Marino, who was once chased across the House floor by Nancy Pelosi. 
  • Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, who was allegedly involved in exposing private information of doctors and researchers in the aftermath of the dramatically faked Planned Parenthood videos. 
  • Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. You remember her, right? The one to whom Trump's Foundation gave a $25K contribution as she was in the middle of deciding whether or not to sign on to an investigation with other state Attorneys General into Trump's university? Yeah, her. It gets better:  in addition to other donations from Trump and his family, it seems that when the Trump campaign holds an event at Mar-a-Lago, it costs $140,000 but when Bondi held an event there, it cost less than $5,000. Funny how that works. 
  • Buffalo-area Congressman Chris Collins, who has a surprisingly sketchy conservative voting record.
  • Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, and the reason why he can't get hold of Ivanka on Saturday, and a man who may or may not have been offended with his father-in-law's comments to Jewish Republicans. Kushner owns the former NY Observer, which as of last week is now a digital-only publication, no longer tied to New York.
  • Rebekah Mercer, who with her father is a mega-donating Clinton hater with connections to both Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway (or maybe I should say, both Bannon and Conway have connections to Mercer). 
  • Steven Mnuchin, Trump's campaign finance chair, possible Treasury Secretary and, according to this article, the Anti-Populist from Hell who was intricately involved in everything that was wrong with the banking industry that led to the Great Recession. 
  • California Congressman Devin Nunes. Chair of the House Intelligence Committee and strong defender of a tiny US base off the coast of Portugal, which no one really understands, perhaps other than to point to his Portuguese heritage.
  • Peter Thiel, tech gazillionaire, outed gay man, and taker-downer of media company Gawker. I'm not sure which of those biographical points was the one that attracted Trump.
  • Donald Trump Jr., number one son, a top executive of the Trump Organization, and of course, a Tweeter like his father; remember the infamous Skittles tweet?
  • Eric Trump, who to his credit runs a charity that has raised millions of dollars for St. Jude's Children Research Hospital, but that has some of the same 'challenges' as his father's foundation. He also famously said that his sister was too strong to put up with sexual harassment and that women should just go to HR and report it.
  • Ivanka Trump, apple of her father's eye, outside-the-US clothing manufacturer, and brains behind the Trump child care plan, which only applies to married women, and would give a tax credit to families with children that don't have any child care expenses -which would, of course, be considered welfare in a different administration.

It will be interesting to see how this group comes together to shape the Trump administration.

There is also the question of the Trump children being so closely involved, at the same time they are also involved in trying to get the Trump Organization structure figured out so that President Trump and Businessman Trump are not entwangled.

Giuliani has recommended a blind trust, but it seems a little hard when your global brand has your name all over it, for anyone to be blind to it, especially someone like Trump. This may be a more interesting thing to watch than which Swampy people get tapped for the new administration.

More to come.