Trump’s Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!

swamp creatures ii 768x540 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!When Donald Trump won the election, the best thing that we — the 81% who didn’t vote for him — could hope for was that he would keep his best campaign promises and break his worst. If Trump was serious about fighting government corruption & big money in politics, I hoped that progressive democrats, leftists, & other like-minded independents would be able to cooperate with the president & his supporters on those issues. This hope of mine, however, has been so utterly & irrevocably smashed that not even the tiniest, glimmering sliver of it remains — this became clear as I studied the individuals that are being considered for Trump’s cabinet…

Donald Trump’s Cabinet

[NOTE: This is a streamlined, expanded, & updated version of a previous post which examined the people Donald Trump has picked (or is likely to pick) to be a part of his cabinet.]

If you’d like a refresher on what exactly the presidential ‘cabinet’ is, then click below to read about that first — or, if you already know all of that stuff (or don’t care), you can skip to the tabs below to learn about who Trump is putting in charge of the country.

Below, I’ve collected information on many of Trump’s likely or confirmed cabinet picks, so far — you’ll find brief biographies, summaries of their cabinet positions, top donors, issues of concern, & more! I’ve even invented a new “Swamp Rating” system for them which utilizes state-of-the-art alligator, frog, & bug-based algorithms to classify the nominees by risk-levels…

Enter the Swamp

CIA DirectorLabor SecretaryEPA AdministratorDefense SecretaryAmbassador to the UNNational Security AdviserSecretary of Housing & Urban DevelopmentEducation SecretaryChief StrategistCommerce SecretaryChief of StaffAttorney General

Mike PompeoCIA Director

Mike Pompeo, CIA Director, Trump's Cabinet

“Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed. That includes Presidential Policy Directive-28, which bestows privacy rights on foreigners and imposes burdensome requirements to justify data collection.” – Mike Pompeo

Summary: Kansas US representative, NSA-fanboy, climate change denialist, & president of an oilfield equipment manufacturer who has advocated for torture & secret CIA prisons & who has publicly called for Edward Snowden’s execution. On Pompeo’s website’s foreign policy page, he seems to express genuine confusion over his perception that President Obama is “more interested in talking to our adversaries then [sic] supporting the national interests of the United States” — which strongly suggests that his vocabulary is missing the entry for the word “diplomacy.”

Position: Director of the CIA
In charge of: Heads the Central Intelligence Agency. Basically the USA’s “head spy,” the director oversees the CIA’s gathering of intelligence from foreign countries & governments, reporting relevant information to the president & their administration. The CIA is the only agency with authorization to perform covert operations on behalf of the president.
Major Concerns: The head of the CIA would be an wealthy oilfield manufacturer who believes that foreign citizens don’t have rights under the constitution and who supports torture, secret prisons, & warrant-less seizures of citizen’s data.
Swamp Rating: 1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures! 5 Swamp-Gators
Extreme Risk of Very, Very Bad Things
Top 5 Donors

Status: 2705 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Confirmed Pick
Senate Approval Needed: Yes

Andrew PuzderSecretary of Labor

Andrew Puzder, Secretary of Labor, Trump's Cabinet

“I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.” -Andrew Puzder

Summary: Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of fast food giants Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, & Green Burrito — and a prominent former anti-abortion lawyer who pressed for legislation defining the moment of conception as the beginning of life. He told business insider he favors increased automation because machines don’t take vacations & never file sex or race discrimination suits. Puzder has a history of opposing a higher minimum wage and pays his Carl’s Jr. employees an average of between $8.13 – $9.93.

Position: Secretary of Labor
In charge of: Heads the Labor Department. The Secretary of Labor enforces regulations which protect workers, distributes unemployment benefits, & oversees the collection & publishing of research & data about labor, national employment statistics, & related subjects.
Major Concerns: We’d be putting someone in charge of labor who opposes the idea of a living wage, who pays his own employees starvation wages, & who has demonstrated contempt for fair practices regarding age, sex, & race discrimination in the workplace.
Swamp Rating: 1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures! 3 swamp-gators
Moderately-high risk of tomfoolery

What Puzder Pays His Employees:

Status: 2611 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Trump is widely expected to pick Pudzer
Senate Approval Needed: Yes

Scott PruittEPA Administrator

Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator, Trump's Cabinet

“The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations” -Scott Pruitt

Summary: Oklahoma Attorney General, lawyer, climate change denialist, & crusader against EPA regulations who is currently in the middle of his latest lawsuit against the administration which he is being nominated to lead. In fact, Pruitt has sued the EPA repeatedly for so many things that NPR had trouble counting the lawsuits in an article from 2014.

Position: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator
In charge of: Heads the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA administrator is responsible for implementing & enforcing environmental legislation and for compiling scientific research & data regarding the health of our environment.
Major Concerns: Blatant conflicts of interests — not only is this guy actively engaged in litigation against the EPA but many of his top donors are the very industries that the EPA most often regulates (see list below).
Swamp Rating: 1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!half swamp gator - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!4.5 gators
Extreme risk of awful things occurring
Top 5 Donors

Status:2611 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Trump is widely expected to pick Pruitt
Senate Approval Needed: Yes

General Jim ‘Mad Dog’ MattisSecretary of Defense

Mad Dog Mattis, Defense Secretary, Trump's Cabinet

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” – General Mattis

Summary: Retired Marine General and top commander of US forces in Iraq & Afghanistan from 2010 to 2013. Mattis has earned both “Warrior Monk” & “Mad Dog” as nicknames, reportedly on account of his extensive book collection & his single-minded concentration on military life. After he retired, Mattis served on the boards of General Dynamics, a defense contractor, & of Theranos, a biotech company.

*Note: He may be a little bit rough around the edges (so to speak) but, in my own opinion, Mattis is truly one of the least scary of Trump’s cabinet nominees. While he’s certainly said some fairly crass things over the years, when it comes down to his actions, Mad Dog has publicly advocated for such sensible & ethical policies as scaling back our nuclear stockpiles, stricter adherence to the rules-of-engagement, & for policy-makers to generally be more restrained & thoughtful before sending our military into complex political situations (like, say, the Middle East).
Position: Secretary of Defense
In charge of: Heads the Department of Defense. The Defense Secretary is in charge of coordinating all of our armed forces — Army, Navy, & Airforce. Additionally, many other national security related agencies are overseen by the Department of Defense, including the Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, & the National Security Agency, or NSA.
Major Concerns: Potential conflict of interests on account of Mattis having served on the boards of defense contractors & biotech companies which may be dealing with the Department of Defense in the coming years.
Swamp Rating: half swamp frog - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures! 0.5 Swamp-Frogs
Relatively low risk of extreme suffering

Status:2705 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Confirmed Pick
Senate Approval Needed: Yes

Nikki HaleyUS Ambassador to the UN

Mike Pompeo, CIA Director, Trump's Cabinet

“”[The United States will] make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around.” – Nikki Haley, on what happens when republicans control the White House again

Summary: Current governor of South Carolina (& notably the first woman to serve as a governor in SC) and former critic of Trump who signed harsh ‘Arizona-style’ immigration legislation into law in SC. Throughout her career, Haley has advocated most of the garden-variety republican policies, including voter ID requirements, restricted access to abortion, lowering taxes, shouting at Iran, & giving the finger to unions — but, to be fair, on some issues Haley has departed from mainstream conservatives, such as her opposition to anti-transgender bathroom laws & her readiness to remove confederate flags from public buildings.

Position: US Ambassador to the United Nations
In charge of: The ambassador represents the interests of & speaks on behalf of the United States on the UN Security Council & at UN General Assemblies. Also known as “the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations (or the ‘Perm Rep’),” the ambassador to the UN is basically the international spokesperson for the US unless a higher ranking official happens to be around (like the Secretary of State).
Major Concerns: Haley’s position regarding Iran & Israel won’t make us many new friends at the UN but, frankly, the US has been telling the international community to pound sand for so long that this probably wouldn’t be shocking to the rest of the world.
Swamp Rating:1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures! 2 Swamp-Frogs
Moderate risk of continuing to be an international embarrassment
Top 5 Donors

Status: 2705 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Confirmed Pick
Senate Approval Needed: Yes

Michael T. FlynnNational Security Adviser

Michael T Flynn, National Security Adviser, Trump's CabinetSummary: Retired army lieutenant general, vocal anti-Muslim author, & CEO of Flynn Intel Group, which offers intelligence services to businesses & governments.

Position: National Security Adviser
In charge of: The National Security Adviser usually works closely with the Secretary of State & the Secretary of Defense and acts as the president’s main adviser on foreign policy & national security.
Major Concerns: Flynn, who may become a powerful influence on foreign policy, has repeatedly & publicly stated his belief that Islam is not a religion, that Islam is like a “malignant cancer,” & wrote, in his recent book, that Muslims “are dead set on taking us over and drinking our blood.”
Swamp Rating:1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40A - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!half swamp gator - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures! 3.5 Swamp-Gators
Moderately-high risk of tragically stupid consequences

Status:2705 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Trump’s Confirmed Pick
Senate Confirmation Needed: No

Ben CarsonSecretary of Housing & Urban Development

Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing, Trump's CabinetSummary: Former candidate for RNC nomination & national chairman of “My Faith Votes,” a group that encourages Christians to vote by publishing pro-Israel, anti-abortion, & pro-“religious freedom” information.

Position: Secretary of Housing & Urban Development
In charge of: Heads the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is, as the name implies, in charge of housing.
Major Concerns: A guy who said, “I don’t think we should even talk about entitlements [aka social welfare] until we fix the economy,” may be in charge of housing.
Swamp Rating:1F41B - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F41C - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures! 2 Creepy Swamp-Bugs
Moderate risk of unhappiness
Top 5 Donors
Status:2705 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Trump’s Confirmed Pick
Senate Approval Needed: Yes

Betsy DeVosSecretary of Education

Betty Devos, Secretary of Education, Trump's CabinetSummary: Billionaire, former chair of the Wisconsin Republican Party, co-chair of Windquest (an investment management firm), & chair of multiple special interest groups advocating for redirecting public funds from public schools system to vouchers for private charter schools.

Position: Secretary of Education
In charge of: Heads the Department of Education, which is the link between state school-systems & the federal government. In charge of FAFSA student loans & accreditation.
Major Concerns: Aside from appointing a billionaire with no experience in education who wants to redirect public funds to unregulated & unevenly distributed private schools, there are no major concerns.
Swamp Rating:1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!half swamp frog - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures! 2.5 Swamp-Frogs
Moderate risk of worsening our already crappy schools

Status:2705 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Trump’s Confirmed Pick
Senate Approval Needed: Yes

Stephen BannonChief Strategist

Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist, Trump's CabinetSummary: Former investment banker at Goldman-Sachs, founder of Bannon & Co. (an investment bank, specializing in media), film producer, & founding member of Breitbart News, which he called “the platform of the alt-right,” whose publications have been a channel for misogynist, xenophobic, & racist ideologies.

Position: Counselor to the President / “Chief Strategist”
In charge of: Any number of undefined things.
Major Concerns: It’s hard to say. Richard Nixon created the cabinet position of “Counselor to the President” in the ’70s and the position has been filled (or, in some cases, not filled) with varying numbers of people who’ve played quite different roles over the last fifty years. This position appears to be a kind of blank check, as it were. And Donald Trump appears to have made up the title of “Chief Strategist” — so, uh, I freely admit that I don’t quite know what to make of this one. The only thing we know for certain is that, whatever Bannon ends up doing, the public will be paying his salary…
Swamp Rating:1F40D - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40D - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40D - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F40D - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures! 4 Slippery Swamp-Vipers
High risk of confusion & suffering

Status:2705 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Trump’s Confirmed Pick
Senate Confirmation Needed: No

Wilbur RossSecretary of Commerce

Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, Trump's CabinetSummary: Billionaire, banker, investor, & vulture capitalist known for buying out struggling & failing companies, either increasing their profitability by reducing employees or liquidating them.

Position: Secretary of Commerce
In charge of: Heads the Department of Commerce. Charged with promoting American business, with a vague goal “to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce.” Oversees the seemingly unrelated Census and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Major Concerns: A guy whose main job has been firing people & liquidating assets may be in charge of commerce.
Swamp Rating:1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!half swamp frog - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!4.5 Swamp-Frogs
Very high risk of literally everyone being robbed & maybe something happening to the ocean or something, too

Status:2705 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Trump’s Confirmed Pick
Senate Confirmation Needed: Yes

Reince PriebusChief of Staff

Trump Cabinet, Reince Priebus Chief of StaffSummary: Current chair of the Republican National Committee, which basically makes Priebus the head honcho of the GOP. He is largely credited with leading the republicans back to unity in the wake of the Tea Party movement.

Position: White House Chief of Staff
In charge of: Sometimes referred to as “the Gatekeeper” to the president, the Chief of Staff usually manages White House staff, the presidential schedule, & often controls who gets an appointment with the president. Depending on a president’s leadership-style, the chief of staff may also act as the president’s negotiator with congressional leaders.
Major Concerns: There is concern among Trump’s anti-establishment voters that appointing Priebus, who is seen as the spokesperson for the GOP establishment, will seriously threaten any progress toward “draining the swamp” in Washington DC.
Swamp Rating:1F40C - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F41B - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F41C - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F577 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!4 Creepy Swamp-Bugs
High risk of ruining many things

Status:2705 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Trump’s Confirmed Pick
Senate Confirmation Needed: No

Jeff SessionsAttorney General

Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Trump's CabinetSummary: Alabama Senator who proposed a national ban of gay marriage, supported the Iraq war, & supported “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military. The National Journal ranked Sessions as the 5th most conservative senator in 2007.

Position: Attorney General
In charge of: Heads the Department of Justice. The Attorney General is basically the “final boss” of the legal system — they take the government’s side, if your case makes it to the Supreme Court.
Major Concerns: Sessions, a man who once said the NAACP & ACLU were “un-American” & “communist-inspired” for “shoving civil-rights down people’s throats, would determine how laws are enforced as head of the DOJ.
Swamp Rating:1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!1F438 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!5 Swamp-Frogs
Extreme risk of widespread sadness
Top 5 Donors
Status:2705 - Trump's Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures!Trump’s Confirmed Pick
Senate Approval Needed: Yes

Trump isn’t going to drain the swamp — he’s going to institutionalize it. Those who voted for Donald Trump because they wanted to burn the establishment down need to look beyond what Trump is saying to what Trump is doing & who Trump is appointing.

In solidarity,
John Laurits

P.S. I’ll be doing one more installment in this #DrainTheSwamp series in January which will add information on the full & final cast of Donald Trump’s cabinet…

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