Let's forget about the Giant Orange Menace for a moment, if that's at all possible, and check out how "The Best People" are doing. You remember, President Trump promised to staff his cabinet with only the best. Space doesn't permit an examination of all the abominations that have traversed this fetid swamp of greed and incompetence, so we'll have to narrow our commentary to a select few. So let's just stick with the Cabinet, starting with:
Agriculture: Former veterinarian George "Sonny" Perdue was a Democrat until 1998, before switching parties and becoming the first Republican governor of Georgia since Reconstruction. Before his tenure ended, Perdue wracked up 13 complaints filed with the state Ethics Commission, including accepting $25,000 worth of illegal gifts. In 2004, Perdue sued the Environmental Protection Agency saying, "Liberals have lost all credibility when it comes to climate science, because their arguments have become ... so obviously disconnected from reality."
- Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
In November 2007, while Georgia was suffering through the worst drought in decades, Perdue led a large crowd in prayer on the steps of the state capitol, saying, "We've come here for one reason and one reason only, to very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm." It didn't work. After severely cutting funds for food and safety regulations, Georgia suffered one of the century's deadliest outbreaks of food-borne illness. Perdue is now in charge of the nation's food safety.
Commerce: After being tapped as Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross maintained partial ownership in Chinese state-owned businesses, a shipping company tied to Russian oligarchs, a bank in Cypress, and an auto parts industry. Ross was accused of swindling his business associates out of $120 million. Before divesting his holdings to a family trust, Ross shorted stock in the Russian-linked shipping company, Navigator Holdings, making a small fortune before the price of shares plummeted. He was fined $2.3 million by the Security and Exchange Commission.
Education: Perhaps the most despised member of the Trump Cabinet, Betsy DeVos used her billion-dollar fortune from the Amway pyramid scheme company to advocate for directing taxpayer funds to private, religious, and charter schools. A major GOP fund-raiser, DeVos called for the deregulation and privatization of the American education system. With zero experience as an educator or administrator, DeVos home-schooled her own children. She rolled back Obama-era policies on campus sexual assault and fought to end a school loan borrower protection program that made it easier for defrauded students to get their loans forgiven. After a failed attempt to kill an inquiry into for-profit colleges, DeVos named a dean from DeVry University to lead a group of investigators.
In a comical Congressional hearing, DeVos called for arming school personnel because Wyoming schools might need guns to defend against grizzly bears. The sister of Erik Prince, soon-to-be-convicted felon and founder of the Blackwater mercenary security group, DeVos registered her personal yacht as a foreign vessel to avoid state taxes.
Health and Human Services: After Trump's initial appointee, Tom Price, was bounced from his position for insider trading, such as purchasing shares in companies manufacturing replacement knees and hips and then introducing bills to affect the cost of such surgeries, Trump tapped Alex Azar as his replacement.
As U.S. Division President of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, Azar increased the cost of a crucial diabetes drug by three-hundred percent, doubled the price of insulin, and was fined for colluding to keep prices high in Mexico. Oh yeah, he also worked on the first two years of the calamitous Clinton Whitewater Investigation under Kenneth Starr.
Homeland Security: Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is the face of migrant family separation. After tweeting, "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period," Nielsen said, "We will not apologize for the job we do," like putting kids in cages. According to The New York Times, nearly 12,000 immigrant children spent last Thanksgiving in federal custody.
HUD: Hapless presidential candidate Ben Carson was most likely put in charge of Housing and Urban Development because it had the word "urban" in the title. Knowing nothing about housing policy or HUD's work, Carson is mainly known for the redecoration of his office, including the purchase of a $31,000 dining room set, which he blamed on his wife. Citing a "secular progressive movement in this country," Carson halted an investigation into housing discrimination practices. Dr. Ben stated that, "poverty, to a large extent, is also a state of mind," and that slaves should be seen as "involuntary immigrants." Carson tried to impose work requirements on recipients of housing assistance. After Trump's egregious comments about the neo-Klan rally in Charlottesville, Carson claimed the mayhem and murder were, "little squabbles being blown out of proportion." Since all the corruption can't be covered in one page, let's just skip to:
Treasury: As Chief Information Officer for Goldman Sachs, Steve Mnuchin advocated for the reduction of corporate tax rates, making him a perfect fit for Trump's Cabinet of thieves. Despite the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Mnuchin traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) just two weeks after Secretary of State and far-right Christian zealot Mike Pompeo held a similar meeting. Mnuchin said they discussed "combating the financing of terrorism." Best known for requesting a government jet for his European honeymoon with sometime actress and nude model, Louise Linton, the Mnuchins were photographed exiting a government jet in Kentucky, which Mrs. Mnuchin then posted on Instagram. The trip was ostensibly to meet with amphibian Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but just happened to coincide with a primo viewing of the solar eclipse. And we haven't even had the chance to discuss the acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, or Crypt Keeper wannabe Rudy Giuliani. We've yet to touch on Michael Cohen, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Don Jr., Jared, Ivanka, or Nixon fanboy Roger Stone. When the multiple investigations are finally completed, I'm confident that they'll be "the best people" that prison can hold.
Randy Haspel writes the "Recycled Hippies" blog.