Mr. Trump and his friends in Congress are planning to destroy the federal government as we know it.
It seems as though Trump’s role in the federal government is less of being an executive and more of being a distracting side show all the while Republicans attempt to dismantle the government.
I know. Those statements should not be made lightly, but here is the evidence:
Previously, I’ve written about the problems of Department of Education then-nominee, now-Secretary Betsy Devos.
“Having no academic or department-specific credentials, Ms. DeVos is best known for her anti-public school advocacy,” I wrote. “She currently heads the American Federation for Children, a political nonprofit that advocates for the privatization of the public education system, according to The Atlantic.”
Since then, Ms. Devos has been confirmed as secretary, but it was in a vote so close it required the Vice President Pence to split the tie.
Following her confirmation, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky introduced H.R. 899, which reads at one sentence long, “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018,” according to a press release from Mr. Massie’s office.
As if a secretary whose only qualifications was advocating to completely privatize public education were enough, the Republican-controlled House wants to do away with the department altogether, despite it administering federal education funding.
At the end of last week, the Senate confirmed Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
While serving as attorney general, he made a name for himself by spending all his energy and the state’s resources on suing the EPA, according to the Washington Post, particularly because of his denial of the reality of climate change.
In nominating Pruitt, Trump released a statement saying Pruitt would “restore the EPA’s essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe,” also according to the Washington Post.
Not only did Trump nominate an EPA-hater to head the department, according to Vox News, Trump signed a bill passed by Congress repealing the so-called EPA “stream protection rule” while many were not watching, despite his promise to “keep our water clean and safe.”
This rule prohibited coal companies from dumping debris from mountaintop removal mining into nearby valleys, according to Vox, which can contaminate nearby streams and waterways with toxic metals and negatively impact the health of nearby communities.
So much for “keeping our water clean and safe.”
According to the departmental website, the purpose of the Department of Labor is to give a “voice in the cabinet” to organized labor by “[fostering, promoting, and developing] the welfare of working people, [improving] their working conditions, and [enhancing] their opportunities.”
Naturally, to promote the exact opposite, Mr. Trump nominated a fast food CEO, Andy Puzder, who advocates against a minimum wage, paying overtime, and healthcare benefits for employees, according to statements by Pudzer examined by USA Today.
(For further context, the Department of Commerce, whose role is to be a “voice of U.S. business” within the cabinet according to its website, is headed by billionaire investor Wilbur Ross.)
However, after controversy surrounding Pudzer from domestic abuse allegations to his hiring of undocumented immigrants, Pudzer has withdrawn his name from nomination. He has since been replaced with a friendlier Alexander Acosta, a conservative with credentials from his tenure in the federal government and as a chairman of a community bank in Florida.
Finally, in the Department of Health confirmation hearing of Rep. Tom Price, Price refused to concretely say whether he would fight to preserve Medicare and Medicaid, in contrast to Trump’s campaign commitments to preserve the programs, according to Mother Jones and NPR.
As I have previously written about, according to a review by the nonpartisan RAND Corporation, the leading Republican plan—Speaker Paul Ryan’s Better Way for Healthcare—to replace the Affordable Care Act will increase healthcare premiums for the elderly by approximately two thousand dollars annually.
Perhaps, Trump’s side show tactics merely serve as a distraction to allow the GOP-controlled Congress to steadily dismantle the federal government as we know it.
All the while, lingering suspicions of Russian influence on the White House and Trump Administration are going uncheck by Congress.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said, “I don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party,” according to CNN.
Congress is dismantling the government, gutting entire departments, and completely ignoring a White House potentially compromised by a foreign government. We cannot rely on Congress to serve as a check anymore on the Presidency.
This is not good, and it is far from normal.
Nick Smith is the Chair of the Jackson Parish Democratic Party.