The Trump Cabal–God Help Us All

Donald Trump

Yesterday, facing massive opposition, Trump’s nominee for Labor Secretary withdrew. But that was a minor victory; most of his ill-equipped nominees have been confirmed.

The most accurate one-liner about  the sorry lot that Donald Trump has assembled to run–or destroy– some of the nation’s most important agencies was by a Facebook poster who said he’d seen better cabinets at IKEA.

A more sober–and sobering–analysis has been made by a retired jurist and lifelong Republican, in a scathing guest column titled “It’s Time to Impeach Trump.”

The leader of the band of Mad Hatters occupying the White House has already insulted allied world leaders, issued illegal and badly written orders, impugned a “so-called” judge appointed by his own party, and appointed the least-qualified cabinet ever. The first secretary of state was Thomas Jefferson. Trump appointed a big-oil executive with close ties to Russia. The first treasury secretary was Alexander Hamilton. Trump appointed a former Goldman Sachs exec who got rich foreclosing on homeowners. The national security advisor lasted 24 days.

It isn’t just the Cabinet. People given important roles in Trump’s White House are even more troubling, to put it mildly. Steve Bannon is the most high-profile example of the white supremacist cabal surrounding Trump, but he’s hardly the only one: 

[Sebastian] Gorka’s name and views appear to have a higher profile among experts on Islamophobia than in the counterterrorism community.

Engy Abdelkalder, adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, noted that like Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, Gorka has ties to anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney.

“He has frequently appeared on Gaffney’s radio program to further such fears and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims,” Abdelkalder told TPM in an email. “And what makes him particularly pernicious is his academic credentials and now, prestigious political appointment, extend an appearance of legitimacy to anti-Muslim bigotry and prejudice.”

Then there’s newly visible Steve Miller, described thusly by a story in the Grio:

If there was any question as to whether Donald Trump is running a white supremacist, authoritarian White House, Stephen Miller should erase all doubt.

Yes, Trump has more than one scary in-house Nazi adviser named Steve. We all knew about Steve Bannon, the white nationalist senior adviser who came to Washington via Breitbart with ideas about making America white again. Now there’s Stephen Miller, who is only 31 and on top of the world as the White House policy adviser behind Trump’s Muslim ban.

Given his incendiary remarks on last Sunday news shows, the subsequent media revelations about his background aren’t surprising, although the details are definitely chilling.

In high school, this angry little man complained about Cinco de Mayo celebrations, Spanish language announcements, an LGBTQ student club and a visit from a Muslim leader, as Univision reported. When Miller ran for class president, he was reportedly booed off the stage by 4,000 students. In his high school yearbook, he wrote: “There can be no fifty-fifty Americanism in this country. There is room here for only 100 percent Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing else.”

When Miller attended college at Duke University, his racial hatred continued. Miller was affiliated with extremists such as neo-Nazi leader Richard Spencer, white nationalist Jared Taylor and Islamophobic activist David Horowitz. Further, as Politico reported, Miller said that multiculturalism undermines American culture. He accused black students of racial paranoia. Although a practicing Jew, he decried the “War on Christmas.” He even went after professors who were registered Democrats, and hated Maya Angelou, calling her a “a leftist” full of “racial paranoia” and opposing her coming to campus for a keynote speech.

Miller later became a press secretary for Rep. Michelle Bachman and communications director for Sen. Jeff Sessions. During the 2016 campaign, Miller warmed up the crowds at the racially charged and violent Trump rallies. Now, he is writing Trump’s executive orders and speeches, including the Muslim ban and an inauguration speech laced with Nazi and antisemitic overtones.

Birds of a feather….

Judge Painter got it right.

We must admit we have elected a president who has immediately proved himself to be a grifter, a pathological liar, a mean-spirited bully and dangerous to American values. This not-ready-for-prime-time show is too dangerous to continue. America is at stake.

[Originally published at SheilaKennedy.net on February 16, 2017]

Sheila Kennedy is a former high school English teacher, former lawyer, former Republican, former Executive Director of Indiana’s ACLU, former columnist for the Indianapolis Star, and former young person. She is currently an (increasingly cranky) old person, a Professor of Law and Public Policy at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, and Director of IUPUI’s Center for Civic Literacy. She writes for the Indianapolis Business Journal, PA Times, and the Indiana Word, and blogs at www.sheilakennedy.net. For those who are interested in more detail, links to an abbreviated CV and academic publications can be found on her blog, along with links to her books..

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