Jan 27, 2018
In the early phases of the Trump administration, it was a macabrely amusing, if horribly depressing, parlor game to predict who would be the worst Cabinet nominee. One year into the administration, considering the same question, it's just plain depressing.
With a president who has minimal and only passing familiarity with policy, Cabinet officials and their deputies are crucial in driving what the administration is actually doing. What the administration is actually doing - not just tweeting about - is truly horrific, far worse than most realize.
As they considered nominations for Worst Cabinet Member, that situation posed an impossible challenge for the Trumpy judges. There was just no way to whittle down to four nominees. Accordingly, the judges unilaterally decided to create two awards, based on an arbitrary division of Cabinet members. Even naming eight nominees required the judges to exclude many candidates - Cabinet members who in a regular administration would be judged the worst don't even fall into the category of eight worst.
Stay tuned to see the remaining four nominees tomorrow.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB): "Kind of Cool" to be in Charge of Shutting Down the Government
1. Proposed a budget replete with draconian cuts, including elimination of the home heating assistance program for the poor.
2. As acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he is actively gutting the agency, proclaiming that it must work for all "citizens" - such as payday lenders, credit card companies and Big Banks. Really.
3. Oversees Trump's extremist and dangerous rollback of regulatory protections.
Secretary of the Interior: "Is Ryan Zinke Cynical or Incompetent?"
(Answer: Don't rule out both.)
1. Announced plans to open up East Coast offshore areas to oil and gas drilling, then arbitrarily announced by tweet an exception for Florida as a political favor to the state's governor.
2. Aims to shrink Bears Ears and other national monuments, trampling Native American rights and opening up the areas to resource exploitation.
3. Muzzling scientists and whistleblowers, especially those trying to protect American lands from climate change-related threats.
Attorney General: "I have not followed through to see where we are on that" [protecting U.S. elections from foreign interference]
1. Adopted new policy for maximum charges against low-level nonviolent offenders - with disproportionate impact on people of color - while making it easy for corporate executives to evade criminal charges for overseas bribery - with massive disproportionate effect on white people.
2. Ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
3. Reversed the Department of Justice's historic defense of voting rights.
Director of the National Economic Council (NEC): "Once in a Lifetime Opportunity" to Help the Rich Get Richer
1. Publicly proclaimed his disgust with Trump's response to Charlottesville, but decided to stay in administration to push the tax bill.
2. Claimed that, as a Jewish American, staying in an administration headed by a president whose conducted "disgusted" him was a way to stand up to Nazis.
3. Was the administration point on a tax plan that constitutes one of the greatest upward transfers of wealth in American history. (Yes, the judges know that the NEC is not formally part of the Cabinet, but Cohn is the key economic policy driver in the Trump administration.)
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