November 29, 2016

Trump in Transition (v4)

Reuters photo
My plan was to do a weekly update on progress with the orderly transition of power to POTUS 45, but with a mere 51 days (as I write this) to go before the inauguration, the pace is picking up, and there is Joe Biden literally no time to waste.

Let's get up to speed:  We are still waiting for an official announcement that Dr Ben Carson will be taking an actual role with the incoming administration, or even if he's officially been offered one. Rumor has it that he's been offered the HUD job, and he may have even accepted it, it's really very hard to tell.

What's not hard to tell, though, is that Carson himself thinks he is unqualified, according to one of his aides. Armstrong Williams, a Carson advisor, told  us
Dr. Carson doesn't feel like that's the best way for him to serve the president-elect. Dr Carson feels he has no government experience, he's never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that would cripple the presidency.
And if I were the POTUS elect (and there's like, less than a Trumpzillion chance of that ever happening), I would accept at face value when a person I want to reward for their loyalty tells me he's not worthy. But then, that's not how things work on the Cabinet Apprentice, not at all.

Because a week or so after Carson's stunning admission, Trump decided that he needs someone of Carson's caliber at HUD -- and he's well qualified to boot!

And Carson opted to defend himself; here's one example:
Well, I know that I grew up in the inner city and have spent a lot of time there and have dealt with a lot of patients from that area, and recognize that we cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities, and we have to get beyond the promises and start really doing something. And also, the amount of corruption and graft and things that have - shell games that are played, we need to get rid of all that stuff and start operating things in an efficient and effective way.
That's right - this sounds just like some of his answers in the debates!

I can't wait for this one to play out. So far, no news is good news on this front, I think.  But we do have news on another front.

Trump has named Elaine Chao as his choice for Secretary of Transportation. Chao served in the Reagan, HW, and Dubya administrations, with the Peace Corps, at the United Way of America, and in the banking industry. And she's been at the Heritage Foundation and a contributor to Fox News, which is a key Cabinet Apprentice skill set.

She's also the wife of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, who happens to be the Senate Majority Leader, and one upon whom attention must be showered if he's to be of use to the President. And there's probably no better way to curry favor with  McConnell than to appoint his wife to a Cabinet position. On which he will be required to provide his personal advice and consent. Unless he recuses himself, because voting on his wife's appointment while serving as Majority Leader could pose a possible conflict of interest.

Speaking at a Senate news conference, he noted
I've heard rumors that it should be an outstanding appointment (ed note: for Transportation Secretary). Someone actually asked Don Stewart if I was going to recuse myself. Let me be quite clear: I will not be recusing myself.
Yeah, right. Silly me. Can a person who has no ethics have a conflict of interest? I may have to check the rules on that.

McConnell, you recall, is the guy who said his highest priority was making sure President Obama was a one-term president.  Not, mind you, representing Kentucky and her citizens, not taking care of the things that ail America - just making sure Obama didn't get re-elected. A priority at which he failed, in case anyone needs reminding.  So is there any surprise that he's not going to recuse himself?

And finally, on the whole matter of the Transition vs. Mitt Romney, the jury's still out. There's still the public flogging being directed by Kellyanne Conway, who is taking advantage of every opportunity to tweet or talk about Romney and how he was the worst of the worst of the non-supporters, more Never Trump than the #NeverTrump movement itself.

But for some unfathomable reason, Romney sat down to dinner with Trump and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus;supposedly there were frog's legs and garlic soup served up, along with some equally healthy, three-Michelin-Stars conversation. Not sure if the Circling Blonde Shark was in attendance, or lurking in a puddle just outside the door.

And, to hedge his bets, Trump also met with Retired (disgraced?) General David Petraeus, another star in the Cabinet Apprentice.  Petraeus, also known as General Betrayus, shared secrets with his mistress for her to use in a book. Which is nothing like what Hillary Clinton did, of course.

Ah yes, a mere 51 days to go.