“I didn’t mean what I said.”
Trump’s harsh rhetoric included campaign promises to ban entry to, surveil and deport Muslims, restrict a woman’s right to abortion, re-authorize torture, and change libel laws to restrict freedom of expression. These proposals are not only un-American, they are unlawful and unconstitutional. Trump says now that he never advocated Muslim registration and that he will only modify Obamacare as opposed to “Obama care has to be replaced and we will do it very, very quickly.” Reneging on his most propagandistic campaign hype now that he doesn’t need it reveals a character of lying and manipulation and an immoral pattern of doing whatever it takes to get what he wants. The term for such a person is charlatan.
Trump is exploring ways to get around nepotism laws that would prohibit him from appointing his son-in-law to his cabinet. One plan is for his son-in-law not to take a salary so he would not technically be an employee, but that is also prohibited by a law that forbids a President from involving family members, whether paid or not. Another issue, of course, is that none of his family has a security clearance for some of the meetings into which they are already being invited.
“These are the people I think are the best.”
Jeff Sessions, being considered to be Attorney General, has a long history of opposing civil rights. In 1986, he was rejected as a nominee for a District Court judgeship because of racist comments. That same year, he prosecuted two civil rights activists on trumped-up charges that were rejected by a jury. He opposed the Supreme Court nomination of Elana Kagan because she clerked for “activist” justice Thurgood Marshall. He supported the gutting of the civil rights law by the Supreme Court, and then his state of Alabama closed 31 DMVs to prevent people from getting IDs the state decided were required to vote.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s choice for Security Advisor, met with Putin to support a Russian TV deal and was forced out of the Defense Intelligence Agency for making radical comments about the danger of Muslims and for supporting the killing of families of terrorists. He was known to be erratic and volatile.
Trump has named Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. She and her husband, Richard, have been multi-billionaire contributors to GOP politics for many years. They and her in-laws are part of the “donor class” of Republicans and closely allied with the Koch brothers. She opposed campaign finance reforms to reduce soft money or dark money in election spending and conceded that she and her husband are buying influence. “We expect a return on our investment.” But she did not favor Trump because he “does represent the Republican Party.” She and her family belong to the very conservative Reformed Church in America. She rejects the separation of church and state, wants to allow tax money to pay for private and religious schools through vouchers (conceived to maintain and now surreptitiously to reintroduce racial segregation and to propagate dominionist Christian education), opposes public education in favor of charter schools and home schooling, and opposes same-sex marriage. “Our desire is to continue to advance God’s Kingdom.” Her father-in-law co-founded Amway, a company found guilty of criminal tax fraud in Canada in 1982. Her brother, Eric, founded Blackwater (now Xe), a private mercenary military contractor that profits from war and operates outside the rules of the US military.
Some adamant opponents now kiss up
Ted Cruz was furious when Trump attacked his wife and accused his father of being involved with the assassination of JFK. Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar” who is “utterly amoral,” a “serial philanderer” who boasts about it, and who will “betray his supporters on every issue.” Now Cruz says “I am eager and committed to working with President-elect Trump.” Perhaps neither Trump not Cruz have any enduring principles.
Mitt Romney said that “dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark” and that Trump’s policies involve “trickle down bigotry, . . . racism and misogyny that are extremely dangerous to America.” He said “Trump is a con man, a fake, [who] should not be married to power.” “He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be President.” Romney is now considering a nomination as Secretary of State.
Rules, ethics and protocol don’t matter
Trump and his kids are again suing DC to lower the property taxes on their new luxury DC hotel. This is just one of more than a hundred lawsuits he has filed over many years to lower his taxes. When he becomes President, he will appoint the head of the Government Services Administration, his landlord for the hotel. He seems to have no concern with the impending conflict of interest.
His transition team has had no contact with several major government agencies with which they have to coordinate the transition. They have no protocol or ethics for the transition. Trump apparently doesn’t know the protocol or doesn’t care, or both.
What to do
We have no idea where this Presidency is going. We must stay vigilant and prepared to vigorously oppose the most destructive changes and dangerous people that Trump proposes. He may be the most unpredictable, erratic, impetuous, treacherous President-elect in American history.