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It’s Getting Worse in the White House

Don Rose 21 March 2018 No Comment

If you thought the first year of Trump was bad, just wait for all the turnovers in the cabinet and advisory staff to settle in. The guy who promised nothing but the best and brightest appointments flunked badly in Round One but with his record-level turnovers he is going farther downhill.

   It seems a lot of people he appointed to important positions had the temerity to give him disagreeable advice. As he has often said, he knows best and pays little attention to “the experts.” So he is replacing them with some dangerous toadies closer to his own views–not that the initial appointments were gems of expertise in the first place. Some of them, unfortunately, made the mistake of telling him something resembling the truth.

Out_of_the_frying_pan

   When business mogul Rex Tillerson was named Secretary of State it quickly became apparent that he was not cut out for the job–but he was supposedly a favorite of Vladimir Putin.  He gutted the State Department in the name of economy and played nice with Putin. He tried diplomacy elsewhere but often found himself undercut in the course of his work by a Trump tweet. His greatest sin, however, was advising the president to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.

    His replacement, former CIA Director Mike Pompeo is as hawkish and toadyish as Trump could ask for. He opposes the Iran deal and might wind up getting the US to pull out, further damaging our credibility among allies and the rest of the world. He has developed the art of feeding Trump bite-size, pleasing intelligence. That could be just the beginning. He’s a spy guy, not a diplomat. If you thought Tillerson was bad, just wait.

   Add to this the ghastly choice of Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo at the CIA. She’s an old-line CIA type, deep into torture and “rendition” just as Trump is. Will she also slant intelligence to please Trump? That’s a good bet.

               Chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, a traditional Wall Street conservative, quit when Trump announced those controversial tariffs.  He almost quit over Trump’s tacitly downplaying the neo-nazis at their murderous Charlottesville rally, but stayed on to shepherd the tax-cut legislation.

     He is being replaced by the oleaginous Larry Kudlow, the TV commentator on economics and politics. A devotee of the widely discredited supply-side school of economics, he is also a devotee of Trump. He is not especially respected as an economist but more as a “presenter” who sometimes shapes his often erroneous economic predictions to fit his ultraconservative political views.  A perfect match for Trump.

   Next to go, it is widely believed, is National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, known as a truth-teller–the last thing Trump wants around–though he has sipped a drop of the Kool-Aid. A rumored replacement is John Bolton–perhaps the most hawkish of all, who would like to bomb North Korea and disband the UN.

   Also rumored to go are HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. I can’t imagine where Trump will find worse than those two, but I’m sure he will.

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Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

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