What Trump’s pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion se­lec­tions tell us

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

We can learn a lot by look­ing at the early days of a pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion.

In 2008, when Obama ap­pointed a slew of Wall Street in­sid­ers, we learned that his ad­min­is­tra­tion was un­likely to go af­ter the folks who caused the Great Re­ces­sion. Eight years af­ter in­vest­ment bankers sold worth­less fi­nan­cial in­stru­ments, mis­led in­vestors and put some 9 mil­lion peo­ple out of work, only a sin­gle bank ex­ec­u­tive has seen jail time.

If only we had stood up against Obama when he made those ap­point­ments.

What can we learn from the early days of the Trump tran­si­tion?

Steve Ban­non is slated to serve as Trump’s chief strate­gist. Dur­ing his time as chair of Bre­it­bart News, he steered the al­ready-right-wing “news” or­ga­ni­za­tion to­ward misog­yny and racism with sto­ries like “Birth Con­trol Makes Women Unattrac­tive and Crazy” and had open ap­peals to white su­prem­a­cists (who pre­fer the less racist-sound­ing term “al­tright”). When the site’s hate spilled over into so­cial me­dia, one of his writ­ers was per­ma­nently banned from Twit­ter.

Big­otry aside, what kind of gov­ern­ment will Ban­non push for? “Lenin wanted to de­stroy the state, and that’s my goal, too,” he told one re­porter. “I want to bring ev­ery­thing crash­ing down, and de­stroy all of to­day’s es­tab­lish­ment.” This is the man Trump picked to set the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s di­rec­tion.

Sen. Jeff Ses­sions of Alabama is slated to be­come at­tor­ney gen­eral. Back when he was up for a fed­eral judge­ship, the nom­i­nat­ing process re­vealed a long his­tor y of racist re­marks, mostly about African-Amer­i­cans. His nom­i­na­tion was de­feated 10-8 by the Republi- can-con­trolled com­mit­tee. Ses­sions is now poised to be the chief law en­force­ment of­fi­cer of the United States.

Frank Gaffney has been floated as a for­eign pol­icy ad­vi­sor to the Trump tran­si­tion. Gaffney founded the le­git­i­mate-sound­ing hate group Cen­ter for Se­cu­rity Pol­icy, which pro­motes anti-Is­lamic con­spir­acy the­o­ries. With no ev­i­dence, he first lied about the pres­i­dent be­ing a Mus­lim, and then about a Con­gress­man and a Clin­ton aide be­ing Mus­lim Brother­hood op­er­a­tives. Gaffney’s crack­pot ideas are so of­fen­sive that even con­ser­va­tive presses re­fused to pub­lish his book (he self-pub­lished it) and he was banned from the con­ser­va­tive CPAC con­fer­ence.

Peo­ple aren’t de­plorable, but some peo­ple’s ideas are. Judg­ing by Trump’s tran­si­tion, his ad­min­is­tra­tion will fea­ture many de­plorable ideas, in­clud­ing the racism, sex­ism and Is­lam­o­pho­bia of Ban­non, Ses­sions and Gaffney.

This tran­si­tion pe­riod is a time for all of us — es­pe­cially the Trump vot­ers who sup­ported him de­spite his big­otry — to stand up for the Amer­i­can val­ues of equal­ity and re­li­gious tol­er­ance. Dave Kung, Lexington Park

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