As the ashes of the American dream settled post one of the most polarizing elections of our time, President-Elect Donald Trump now scrambles in the aftermath to fill open White House cabinet positions.
Certain positions like Secretary of State, Treasure Secretary and Defense Secretary remain open, while Trump has already selected some highly controversial political figures to fill the Attorney General, National Security Advisor and CIA Director slots. Of course, these nominations will have to be confirmed by the Senate.
As his selections are revealed, we are paying close attention to how his decisions will affect healthcare, immigration policy, civil rights, and national security.
Over the weekend, camera crews hovered around Trump’s International Golf Club in Bedminster Township, N.J. waiting for hints at Trump’s next steps in the transition of power.
Here’s the latest:
Trump Selection For U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions
Jeff Sessions, former Attorney General of Alabama and U.S. Senator, is a troubling pick for Attorney General of the United States given his known track record of racism. In 1986, a Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee(AKA, his peers) rejected Sessions for judgeship because they ruled his past actions and comments to be racially charged.
Given the current climate of our justice department, including the rampant shootings of unarmed Black men by police officers and lack of gun control legislation, an Attorney General with a noted political history of discrimination could deter any progress towards equality for people of color in our justice system. Gaining confirmation from the Senate will also be difficult, considering he’s been denied of a seat as judge previously.
Sessions has already proposed a Blue Lives Matter bill (notoriously opposed to the activist organization, Black Lives Matter) and is opposed to marriage equality rights for the LGBTQ community.
Trump Selection For CIA Director, Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo is a Kanas representative and a former army officer. He was a member of the House Intelligence Committee that lead the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s culpability in the Benghazi tragedy.
Pompeo supports increased U.S. surveillance (including domestic American call records) and opposes the closing of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, a military prison with an infamous history of prisoner torture.
He won a seat in Congress in 2011 against Indian-American state representative, Raj Goyle. During the campaign, one of Pompeo’s staff members promoted a tweet that referred to Raj as a “Turban Topper,” according to the NYT. Pompeo apologized to Goyle for the incident, but didn’t fire the staff member.
Trump Selection For National Security Adviser, Michael T. Flynn
Retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn is known in the political space for his national security commentary that borders on Islamophobia. He propagated the unfounded rhetoric that Shariah or Islamic Law was spreading rampantly in the United States, the NYT reported. He also cites the Muslim faith as a global threat.
Like President Elect Donald Trump, Flynn has close ties with Russia, including a recent speaking engagement with television network Russia Today which allowed him to attend their lavish company party.
Flynn worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency for two years, before being fired. Since then he has been a talking head figure, adamantly opposing ‘radical islam.’
Trump Selection For White House Chief Of Staff, Reince Preibus
Preibus, who is an Attorney and chairman of the Republican National Committee, has made many troubling remarks regarding Islam, aligning closely with the divisive propaganda of President Elect Donald Trump.
Preibus recently said the Trump administration ‘will not rule anything out’ when it comes to an immigration ban on Muslims.
“Clearly there are some aspects of that faith that are problematic and we know them; we’ve seen it,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Trump Selection For Chief Strategist, Stephen K. Bannon
Steve Bannon, the political voice of the alt-right constituency, served as a leader for Breibart.com, the home of the ‘extremist fringe,’ according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Breibart’s articles perpetuate racist ideals and spew anti-muslim and immigration rhetoric.
Bannon himself also has backing from hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, neo-nazis, and other white nationalist groups, according to The Hill.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a statement that Bannon’s appointment to the cabinet goes “directly against Trump’s pledge to be a president to ‘all Americans.”
Trump Selection For Department Of Housing And Urban Development, Ben Carson
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has been named to Trump’s cabinet after competing against the president elect in the race for the White House.
Carson, who has little housing experience, wrote an op-ed on the issues for The Washington Times.
In the piece, Carson criticized President Barack Obama for his “failed” efforts to “desegregate” housing. Beyond this article, his knowledge of the space remains hazy.
“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” Trump said Monday morning in the statement.
“We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up.”