Trump’s Cabinet members will be his enforcers and lieutenants regarding law, environmental policy, foreign policy, military administration, public housing, and education, and almost every other other aspect of the government. These are people who would roll back regulations which slow and eventually reverse the disastrous effects of climate change, all because they don’t believe climate change is man-made, or even real. They would gut the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, which we need now desperately, if not more than ever. The public school system would be left out in the intellectual wilderness, abandoned in favor of funding private schools, which not every child, certainly not the most disadvantaged students, has the resources to attend. Again, they will fund private schools, with public money.
Below are the key details about these potential Cabinet members. Use these to explain to your senators why these people should not be confirmed. After all, Trump appointed them, but that doesn’t mean they automatically become a part of his administration. They have to be confirmed by the Senate first. And the Senate needs to hear your voice. Maybe these nominees are unqualified, maybe you believe they’ll take the country in the wrong direction, maybe it’s both, but you need to call those who represent YOU at the national level of government and tell them how you feel about these potential Cabinet members. Remember, the politicians are supposed to answer to the people, and if they ignore the people, the people have every right to pick new representatives.
The Senate could confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court as early as this week, and 41 Democratic Senators have committed to filibustering the nomination. This gives Democrats enough votes to potentially block Judge Gorsuch from the court, which means the Republicans could react by removing the ability to filibuster, which is known as the nuclear option.
While experienced, Judge Neil Gorsuch’s history of favoring large corporations over individuals makes him a dangerous pick for the Supreme Court. He sided with Hobby Lobby in a case denying birth control to their employees under the guise of religious freedom, saying, “corporation can be ‘persons’ exercising religion.” During his tenure, Judge Gorsuch has repeatedly favored insurance companies over employees, denying benefits to workers either injured on the job or too sick to work.
Judge Gorsuch is only 49 and his young age would give him influence over Supreme Court decisions for several decades. He has been compared to the late Justice Scalia, for his conservative decisions that stick close to the constitution. Filling Scalia's seat would be a huge win for Trump, both symbolically and politically. But it is hypocritical of Republicans to rush to appoint Judge Gorsuch when they spent the past year aggressively blocking Merrick Garland, the equally educated and qualified Democratic nominee. We must protect the checks and balances that the Supreme Court provides by preventing an extremist Trump pick from swaying the court’s decisions.
Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III of Alabama (Senator Sessions) has a long career in politics and is an experienced public servant.
However, Senator Sessions has incredibly conservative and racist policies that make his service in the Justice Department a problem for many minority groups. President Ronald Reagan tried to appoint him to a judgeship in 1986. His appointment was voted down because he was too racist. Among the reasons why his judgeship was blocked was because of testimony alleging that he agreed that a white lawyer was a “disgrace to the race” for defending black clients, and for saying that the NAACP and ACLU were “communist” and “un-American” organizations who were trying to “force Civil Rights down the throats of people.”
As Attorney General, Sen. Sessions would head the Justice Department administering the application of federal law throughout the country, with a lot of leeway in shaping interpretation of said law and its enforcement. Finally, he would advise Donald Trump on potential Supreme Court picks.
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Confirmed 52-46.
Scott Pruitt is the current Attorney General for Oklahoma and Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt has sued and fought the EPA every time he has had the opportunity, in order to combat regulations that President Barack Obama has put in place to protect the environment and slow climate change.
Pruitt was part of a coalition of 29 state attorneys who sought to challenge the Clean Power Plan, the purpose of which was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. On climate change, Pruitt has written in the National Review that “scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” and that the debate on climate change is “far from settled.”Scott Pruitt also has ties to Big Energy. He is part of an illustrious group of attorney generals who have received record contributions from energy companies toward their reelection campaigns (to the tune of $16 billion).
Tom Price is the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in the house of Congress, and is known for becoming the first Republican Senate Majority leader in the history of Georgia. Throughout his political career, Price has been rewarded for siding with big leadership. On that front, he has been criticized for swaying from his conservative values, but applauded for speaking loudly for both Democratic and Republican decisions alike. This quality, along with his loud criticism of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), likely made him an appealing nominee for President elect, Donald Trump, who wants to repeal Obamacare within his first 100 Days.
Price has voted against federal regulation of public health, grants for drug research and female contraceptives during his time in Congress. He also spent the past four years trading over $300,000 of health-industry stocks while sponsoring legislation that would improve the value of the stocks. Price critics fear that his new insurance plans would directly benefit his own interests rather than those of the American people.
Rex W. Tillerson is the former CEO of Exxonmobil, the world's largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, and the world's sixth largest company by revenue. It should raise attention that Tillerson has close ties with Russian President, Vladimir Putin. The two established a relationship when Tillerson led Exxon's interest into Russia in the 1990's. Tillerson's supporters applaud his intelligence in international negotiations, while his critics are skeptical of his decisions as they may involve Putin, negatively impact the environment, and benefit him financially.There’s a saying, that those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it, and Tillerson’s nomination feels loudly reminiscent of that of former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Cheney granted his former Halliburton sweetheart deals for rebuilding Iraq after receiving a $34 million compensation upon resigning his position as CEO. While Tillerson has yet to be confirmed, he is set to receive a $180 million severance package from ExxonMobil to take effect upon confirmation. There is strong reason to believe that Tillerson poses too big of an ethical conflict to our country’s foreign policy, and that like Cheney, he may put the interest of big oil companies over that of the American people. Tillerson was confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the only thing standing between him and the State Department is 51 votes in the Senate.
Secretary of Education, Confirmed 50-50 with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.
Betsy DeVos is Chairman of the Windquest Group, a private investment and management firm based in Michigan, and former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party. Despite her impressive resume of philanthropic leadership positions, and 35 years of political advocacy, Devos has no experience in public schooling. Devos has never been a student, parent, teacher, or administrator in a public school, and favors reduced oversight of public schools and increased “school choice,” which only helps wealthy families send their children to private schools, at the expense of poorer families.