By Ridgley Knapp
The Great Mentioner has really gone at it. Many names have been thrown around to fill the remaining 14 Cabinet positions (as Vice President, Mike Pence will sit in on all Cabinet meetings). Potential contenders include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnunchin, Senator Jeff Sessions, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Rick Scott. The propositions are almost too many to count (Secretary of the Interior Sarah Palin?), so here’s seven names on the supposed shortlist and why they absolutely terrify us.
Jeff Sessions: As junior Senator from Alabama, a post he has held since 1996, Sessions has been an outspoken critic of legalizing undocumented immigrants within the US. Nominated for a federal judgeship by Ronald Reagan, it was testified that he referred to the ACLU and the NAACP as “communist-inspired” organizations that “forced civil rights down the throats of people”. Sessions has been touted as a possible pick for Defense Secretary, Attorney General, or DHS.
Kris Kobach: This Kansas Secretary of State and former head of the Kansas Republican Party is a rising, and controversial, star within the Republican party. He has been accused of dialing up the heat on voting rights, and, before his election, worked for the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which the SPLC has listed as a hate group. He is being considered for Attorney General.
Rick Scott: The current governor of Florida is term-limited in 2018 and has signalled he may run against Democratic Senator Bill Nelson instead. Before his tenure as governor, Scott was chief executive of Columbia/HCA, a major health-care operator that, immediately after Scott’s forced retirement, was forced to pay over $600mil in America’s largest ever fraud case. His name has been floated for Head of Health and Human Services, the very department that investigated Columbia/HCA.
David A. Clarke: The Sheriff of Milwaukee County, WI is a talked-about option for Department of Homeland Defense. Though elected as Democrat, Clarke is one of the hardest right sheriffs in the nation. He has referred to Black Lives Matter as “Black Lies Matter” and as a hate group and is a prominent supporter of the “Blue Lives Matter” program.
Forrest Lucas: Lucas is the founder of Lucas Oil, a prominent manufacturer of oils and lubricants involved in the automotive industry. His name was first tossed around by the Trump campaign in September for Secretary of the Interior. Putting a modern day oil tycoon in charge of the Interior would wreak havoc on the environmental regulations put forth by the Obama administration.
Rudy Giuliani: Oh, Rudy. The business ties of this apparent front-runner for Secretary of State “are a major red flag” according to the New York Times. “He built a lucrative consulting and speechmaking career after leaving City Hall. His firm, Giuliani Partners, has had contracts with the government of Qatar and the Canadian company that is building the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and Mr. Giuliani has given paid speeches to a shadowy Iranian opposition group that until 2012 was on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.” And we all know how much the electorate cares about paid speeches.
Sam Brownback: As Governor of Kansas, an office he still holds, Brownback ran the state into the dirt (applicable for one mentioned for Secretary of Agriculture). His attempts to use Reagan-style economics (massive tax cuts, attempted privatization of government operations) on the state of Kansas resulted in what the Kansas City Star referred to as “a self-created fiscal hell”. He’s also signed into law some of the nation’s strictest abortion regulations, but that’s sort of irrelevant to agriculture (I hope).