Every U.S. president falls under the intense scrutiny of the media, a spotlight that magnifies every word and action, past and present. And now with social media like Twitter you get to know a guy pretty good. President Trump in his first term has proven for the most part to have two driving motivators; the economy and himself, the former is directly linked to the latter. He is pro-Trump and pro-business. This president cares about little else, he knows historically people vote according to their bank accounts.
It’s his obsession with power and big business that makes his so dangerous. President Trump has linked his self image of greatness to the economy above all other and he measures the economy by how rich the rich are getting. Balancing the economy with all the other concerns, like the environment to name just one, takes precision, and costs money.
Lots of money.
The apparent remedy to the burden of balance is to undermine or even destroy the institutions that keeps big business in check. The president is afforded the right to appoint the heads of these agencies and this president, along with conservative members of congress are installing people with the sole purpose of running these agencies into the ground.
Take for example:
The word protection in the name Environmental Protection Agency is a huge red flag for those who would make money from activities that dirty up our water and air. The EPA has been a thorn in the side of polluters since Richard Nixon created it 50 years ago.
Trump’s first pick for director, Scott Pruitt resigned in scandal and went on to become a coal promoter for Alliance Resource Partners, L.P, and a lobbyist for Sunrise Coal.
Enter Scott Wheeler, a climate science denier like his predecessor. Mr Wheeler worked as a coal lobbyist for Faegre Baker Daniels, a law firm who represents coal producer Murray Energy.
Trump has spent his entire first term deregulating the energy industry at the expense of our environment, being clean costs the fossil fuel industry a lot of money.
Here’s a list of terrifying rollbacks tracked by the Brookings Institution: https://www.brookings.edu/interactives/tracking-deregulation-in-the-trump-era/
This agency has come to the scientific conclusion that climate change is happening and human activity is a significant factor, so naturally Trump would like to appoint a science denier to that post. Unfortunately for the president it’s not easy finding a qualified scientist to fit that bill, a Trump ally will just have to do. Jim Bridenstine was nominated in September 2017 to head the agency to heavy criticism for falling well below the scientific standards set by previous administrators, and for being a vocal critic of prevailing consensus on climate change. He was confirmed strictly by Republicans in a 50-49 vote in April, 2018.
However, it seems the plan backfired on the president and his allies in congress. One month after Bridenstine’s confirmation in May, 2018, he turned a 180 in a town hall speech at NASA headquarters as reported by The Atlantic he said, “I don’t deny that consensus that the climate is changing,” he said. “In fact, I fully believe and know that the climate is changing. I also know that we humans beings are contributing to it in a major way. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. We’re putting it into the atmosphere in volumes that we haven’t seen, and that greenhouse gas is warming the planet. That is absolutely happening, and we are responsible for it.”
That’s gotta hurt.
The Department of the Interior for those who don’t know manages about 75% of federal lands and natural resources. Trumps first appointment to position of Secretary of the Interior was Ryan Zinke, another one that ended on scandal leading the way for the current Secretary David Bernhardt. As one could guess, Bernhardt is a former lobbyist for Brownstein Hyett Farber Schreck, a lobbying firm with a client list including oil and gas energy and exploration companies, and notably the Independent Petroleum Association of America, as well as other mining interests. The Trump Administration is accelerating mining and oil drilling on public lands as well as uranium extraction and plundering forests.
Office of Air and Radiation
William Wehrum is an attorney and lobbyist for such polluters as Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute among others and served as assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation until he was forced to step down for ethics violations, mostly interacting with former clients to discuss government regulation related to their industry.
The new administrator Anne Idsal isn’t a lobbyist or a corporate attorney and is relatively unknown.
Taxpayer funded public schools are literally centuries old. But of course conservative forces in the United States would rather have a for profit system and what better way to undermine public education than to appoint to the Department of Education a vastly underqualified person who’s known not for education as much as for advocacy of private schools. Betsy DeVos, the current Secretary of Education is just such a person. DeVos has been an advocate of school vouchers, that essentially takes taxpayer money from public schools and funnels it to private schools, for decades. Upon landing in the Secretary position she has ambitiously worked toward the largest school voucher assault on public schools in U.S. history. Like many of Trump’s dubious nominees, the Senate vote to confirm was far from overwhelming and in this case Vice President Mike Pence had to break a 50 – 50 tie.
The first Postmaster General was appointed by Benjamin Franklin in 1775 and is one of the few agencies authorized by the U.S. Constitution. It’s the epitome of an American institution.
Although the USPS is a government agency it’s self sustaining and takes no taxpayer money to function. For a couple decades Republicans have strongly advocated the privatization of the agency, essentially dismantling it in favor of a for-profit system in spite of operating for over 200 years.
Trump’s pick for Postmaster General is just the man for the job. Louis Dejoy has exactly zero prior experience at the Post Office and in fact had invested in UPS (which he divested). Aside from having interests in competitors and sub-contractors like XPO, DeJoy’s main function seems to be hamstringing the effectiveness of mail delivery, he’s slowing the operation down. Normally one could conclude that kind of leadership is designed to sabotage not only the profitability but the public image of the agency, leading to the argument that it should be privatized. However in 2020 there is an added motive; it’s believed that because of the COVID-19 pandemic a certain segment of the population may vote by mail. That demographic is Democtrats who may be interested in reducing public exposure by avoiding the polls. Voter suppression is an added bonus in Republicans effort to destroy the U.S. Postal Service.
All this and the attempt to stack the U.S. Supreme Court with ultra right-wing conservative judges so incase any lawsuits concerning these changes make it that far will be struck down. Trump is far and away the most dangerous person to ever take residency in the White House and likewise, the true colors of the Republican Party are showing with their quiet complicity. Apparently to make America again is to set us back a century or so.