THE LATEST THINKING
The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.
Quick Reminder: The Trump Administration Is Set on Dismantling the Government
President Trump has a history of hiring people to oversee departments for which they are historically known to oppose. This is just a reminder that Trump’s antics are a distraction and his lackeys are doing the real dirty work.
“Cut the head off the snake, and the body will die.”
A lot of people who currently oppose this presidential administration might be thinking along these lines. They might say to themselves, “If we can just get rid of Trump, then surely things will get a little better?” Unfortunately, there’s no way to definitively say whether that’s right, but there is a logic to it, hence the age-old saying.
However, with his latest political appointment, I’m once again reminded that Trump isn’t really the problem. Don’t get me wrong, he’s definitely a problem — I’m just not sure if he’s the problem. At this point, he just seems like a figurehead. His lack of political knowledge and policy implementation is on full display with each passing week. He boasted that this ignorance would be a feature in his presidency, rather than a flaw, giving him a "Washington outsider" edge that undoubtedly helped him court voters in his 2016 election run. Regardless, he seems more like a dunce than anything else, even though he appears to have some savvy with marketing/branding and manipulating the public/media (I'm referring to his "clever" nicknames for political opponents and sending the people and the media into a frenzy with his bizarre tweets).
To get back on track, Trump just appointed Susan Combs to oversee wildlife and parks at the Interior Department. This doesn't really sound that newsworthy on its face, but you don't have to do a lot of digging to discover that — Expected! (Get it? Because it's the opposite of "Surprise!") — she has a history of fighting the Endangered Species Act, mostly to benefit particular business interests.
If you called me a hater for harping about this because I don't have a history of fighting for protections for endangered animals, you'd only be partially right. It's easily to trivialize appointments like these and try to attack the ones voicing concern because of some weird version of the bandwagon effect (i.e. "Oh, now all of a sudden you're an animal rights activist?!"), but that's not the main point. The bigger issue is that this administration is engaging in a multifaceted approach to systemically dismantle the government. They even said so themselves. When Steve Bannon was still at the White House, he offered the following: "If you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were all selected for a reason. And that is the deconstruction [of the administrative state].”
This is why those charged with "draining the swamp" include the likes of stable geniuses such as Betsy Davos, Rick Perry, and the god-awful Scott Pruitt, the latter of whom might be going down in flames somewhat soon — or not, who knows with these guys. He'll probably be fine, actually.
There's nothing too insightful here; this is just a reminder that while Trump is distracting us with border wall nonsense, porn star sidebars and other flashy tweets and headlines, the people in his administration are working hard for their particular business interests.
Add EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to the ever growing list of Trump administration officials who have used private planes...