Here are Global Exchange’s top ten reasons we must stop Trump and his cabinet of billionaires, corporate cronies and ultra-right elites.
1. Environmental destruction. The Trump cabinet is a Who’s-Who of Big Oil executives and climate change deniers. Rex Tillerson, nominee for Secretary of State, was CEO of Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest fossil fuel company – which for more than 40 years knew about the dangers of human-driven climate change but cynically lied to the public about it while amassing billions in annual profits and violating human rights around the globe
Trump has assigned career climate denier Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt has a long history of suing the EPA. His own bio proudly declares he “is a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” He has close ties to oil and gas companies and pushes for more drilling (including fracking), which has caused thousands of earthquakes in his state in recent years.
Trump has tapped former Texas governor Rick Perry as Energy Secretary – the same Perry who called for the Energy Department to be eliminated when he ran for president in 2012. Both Perry and Trump have investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is being resisted by indigenous water protectors at Standing Rock
The fossil fuel industry will be effectively running the government in Trump’s administration. We have a narrow window to stabilize the climate and avoid catastrophic effects of climate change. The survival of our planet and species may depend on disrupting this administration’s backward agenda.
2. Racism and attacks on People of Color. Trump’s campaign and election were accompanied by a wave of racist hate crimes. His Cabinet picks promise to reinforce the structures of institutional racism that continue to plague communities of color in the United States. Trump has picked Steve Bannon of the white nationalist Breitbart news to be his “chief strategist”.
His Attorney General nominee, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, is a neo-confederate, white supremacist who has built his career on rolling back civil rights. He opposes the Voting Rights Act and supports voter-ID laws intended to disenfranchise voters of color. In 1986, Sessions was considered unfit to be a federal judge because of his role in documented racist incidents. Since then he has repeatedly confirmed his hostility towards the rights of people of color, women, LGBTQ communities and immigrants.
3. Hostile to Immigrants and Muslims. Jeff Sessions has been a vocal supporter of building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. He has long supported harsh anti-immigrant legislation, and signaled openness to a ban on immigrants from majority-Muslim countries. If confirmed, Sessions will have ultimate authority over the nation’s immigration courts – with the power to detain and deport millions.
His nominee for Defense Secretary, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, likely committed war crimes in Iraq, was fired for ultra-hawkish attitudes towards Iran, and said it’s “a hell of a lot of fun to shoot” members of the Taliban.
4. Hostile to Women’s and LGBTQ rights. Vice President Mike Pence opposes abortion in all cases – including rape and incest. He also believes in so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ youth. As governor of Indiana, he gutted the budget for Planned Parenthood.
Jeff Sessions (AG pick) supported legislative efforts to restrict women’s and LGBTQ rights for decades. He supports a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and opposes reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and equal pay for women.
Health and Human Services (HHS) pick, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, supports efforts to severely restrict abortion and birth control.
5. Anti-Worker. Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder is president and CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent company of fast-food chains Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s. He opposes any minimum wage and has a history of wage theft and union busting. He supports anti-union “right-to-work” laws and has faced legal action for fostering anti-union environments, minimum wage and overtime violations, and workplace sexual harassment.
During the campaign, Donald Trump exploited the widespread unpopularity of so-called free trade agreements to help fuel his rightwing populism. But most of his Cabinet appointees supported (or even lobbied for) the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other destructive trade deals.
6. Mass incarceration and the war on drugs. Jeff Sessions embraces draconian criminal penalties for drug offenses. He calls for “law and order” policies and supports escalating the failed drug war – policies that have already resulted in the mass incarceration of millions of mostly black and brown people in the US.
7. Renewed arms race and destabilization of world politics. Trump has tweeted recklessly about escalating a nuclear arms race. His support for hardline Zionists in Israel and for moving the US embassy to Jerusalem likely spells the end of a two-state solution. This move will reinforce right-wing Israelis who embrace the apartheid of permanent occupation, and it will diminish options for peace. Trump’s CIA nominee, congressman Mike Pompeo, is a close ally of the Koch brothers who criticized Obama for ending the US torture program.
8. Undermining public education and affordable healthcare. Education nominee Betsy DeVos is a billionaire and ideological extremist committed to privatizing and “charterizing” schools, attacking unionized teachers and dismantling public education.
9. Authoritarian tendencies. Trump came to power in an election in which millions were disenfranchised. With Republicans controlling all three branches of government, there will be no checks on his power. He’s shown a disdain for a free press, and expressed admiration for autocrats like Vladimir Putin and Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte – responsible for a murderous drug war in which thousands have been extrajudicially executed. His Secretary of State pick, Tillerson, has extensive business dealings in Russia and even won Putin’s Order of Friendship.
10. Ultra-wealthy, militaristic, and pro-corporate. The entire proposed Cabinet is a swamp of thieves, robber barons, tycoons, hawkish generals and Washington insiders. The potential for conflicts of interest, corporate cronyism and personal enrichment is rife. Trump himself refuses to release his tax returns (unlike every president in the last four decades) and will not divest his assets. Confirmation hearings have gone forward without a full ethics review, despite troubling questions about many nominees.
Besides those in the pocket of Big Oil, he’s picked Wilbur Ross, a Wall Street billionaire who made his fortune from off-shoring jobs and vulture investments, as Commerce Secretary; and “Foreclosure King” Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive who got rich by kicking families out of their homes and who pledges to eliminate regulations on Wall Street, as Treasury Secretary.
The incoming Trump/Pence administration must be resisted. Call your Senators (202) 224-3121: Tell them your opinion about Trump’s appointees and insist they stand up for human rights and the future of the planet by saying no to all his Cabinet nominees before it’s too late.