Uproar over Donald Trump winning the election continues more than a week later. But presidential elections are about much more than who becomes commander-in-chief. Cabinet appointments play a pivotal role in the future of our country, and already the president-elect’s shortlist of appointees is raising eyebrows among Republicans and Democrats.
Trump is considering Steven Bannon, a nationalist media mogul, as his chief strategist and senior counselor in the White House. Civil rights groups, Democrats and some GOP leaders have criticized Trump, noting Bannon’s anti-Semitic and racist views. He is the former head of Breitbart News, an ultra conservative website dedicated to electing Trump.
Then there’s former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is being considered for a few cabinet posts, including homeland security secretary, attorney general and secretary of state. Another one with racist views, as mayor, Giuliani was big on racial profiling and the controversial “stop and frisk” policy, which targeted Latinos and African Americans.
Under Giuliani, New York police were given a license to basically stop and search any one without a good reason. The practice was discontinued in 2013 when the U.S. District Court ruled that it violated civil rights. Having him as attorney general would turn back the clock on progress made by the Justice Dept. to hold rogue, racist cops accountable for unprovoked civilian shootings.
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions is another attorney general candidate to watch. Before he ran for the Senate, Republicans rejected his nomination by President Ronald Reagan to a federal judgeship. Several U.S. attorneys testified that he had made racist statements against African Americans and had been hostile to civil rights cases. He is a relentless opponent of illegal immigration.
Neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson was being considered to head Health and Human Services, but declined, noting he does not feel qualified to head the agency. Yet, he wanted to be head of the United States of America. Wow! If only other cabinet candidates would be so gracious, perhaps we could breathe a little easier.
Former UN Ambassador John Bolt is also being considered as secretary of state. GOP Sen. Rand Paul said the thought of Giuliani becoming secretary of state is “worrisome” and he fears what a Bolton appointment would do as well. “You want a diplomat in charge of diplomacy, not a bomb thrower,” he said.
Joe Arpaio, departing sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ, whose anti-immigration policy required Latinos to show documentation, is in the running to head Homeland Security. He would be in charge of carrying out Trump’s promise of mass deportation and building the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Selecting potential heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and Dept. of Education may be a moot point in the near future, as Trump wants to seriously reduce or dismantle them all together.
It is extremely important that we keep our eyes on Trump’s cabinet. He will be relying on advice and expertise of cabinet members to help him lead this country. America has never been more divided, and the noticeable lack of women and people of color as potential appointees only makes it worse. Out of 47 names, 8 are women. Now that Carson has dropped out, there is only 1 person of color left.
If ever there were a time to become engaged in civic affairs, that time is now. We must contact our representatives in the Senate and in Congress and let them know when we don’t approve of actions by the Trump administration.
Let them know their seats are not safe if they confirm appointments of those who are racist, inexperienced and unfit. We must have a strong balance of power that works for everyone. This is what democracy is all about.