So… this is it. The Obama presidency is coming to an end, and uncertainty begins at noon Eastern tomorrow. Every presidential transition carries with it some level of the unknown – we’ve gotten to know the existing president, the media has exposed all the warts, and our opinions are set. But positive or negative, our feelings are comfortable, because we’e had time to establish and validate them in our own way.
This transition is different in a variety of ways. The man assuming the title of “most powerful man in the world” was a national joke as recently as six months ago. That same man will settle into the Oval Office with the lowest popularity rating of an incoming president in a generation, rampant conflicts of interest, and more than one investigation into his campaign’s relationship with a major foreign power. Most of his nominees for cabinet positions not only have no experience which qualifies them for the positions for which they’ve been nominated, many of them have advocated for the removal of or filed suit against the very departments they’ve been selected to lead.
Betsy deVos, Trump’s nominee for head of the Department of Education, did not go to public school. She did not send her children to public school, and it showed during her confirmation hearing. She has no personal experience with federal (or even personal) financial aid. She’s an advocate for stripping funding from public schools and moving it to charter schools. When questioned in committee, she could not figure out the difference between measuring students on proficiency vs growth, and her response to a question about the 1975 IDEA act, which ensures that children with disabilities have the same access to a free and appropriate education as mainstream students, was this: “I think that’s best left up to the states”. IDEA is a Federal law.
Rick Perry, former failed presidential candidate and nominee for the head of the Department of Energy, was totally pumped to be nominated for the gig – he thought he’d be able to run around the world lobbying for the oil and gas industry. He actually had to be briefed on what the job would entail. And let’s not forget that he wanted to eliminate that department during his 2012 run for president, despite forgetting the department’s name, along with that whole not even knowing what it does thing.
Tom Price, a current congressman and Trump’s pick for head of the Department of Health and Human Services, is an actual physician. He’s also under fire for purchasing stock in companies who benefited from legislation he helped pass after those purchases. That’s a giant no-no.
There are more nominees with more issues. But the bottom line is this: the incoming administration is not in it for America – it’s in it for itself. Most of these nominees will fly through confirmation, because elections have consequences. The other side is in complete control of our government for the next two years. What are you going to do about it?