Last week, Trump set about composing the team of vile, ultra-right, bigoted men who will lead his impending war efforts. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III of Alabama for Attorney General
Trump said he would nominate Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as Attorney General. Mr. Sessions was the first senator to endorse Mr. Trump in February, and has since become a close adviser. Sessions will therefore play a key role in Trump’s War on the People.
Some of the many reasons this potential appointment is absolutely horrifying:
- Sessions has referred to the American Civil Liberties Union and the N.A.A.C.P. as “un-American” for “trying to force civil rights down the throats of people.” (He has denied the “un-American” bit.) (Linked source herein applies to following three bullet points, as well.)
- He also may or may not have said that the N.A.A.C.P. hates white people and is “a commie group and a pinko organization.” When pressed during a hearing for a judiciary position in 1986, Sessions offerred, “I am loose with my tongue on occasion….”
- During that same hearing, Sessions said that while the groups themselves were not “un-American,” some of their positions were. He specified that he was referring to liberal immigration policies and support for the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
- African-American then-prosecutor Thomas H. Figures testified that Mr. Sessions referred to him as “boy.” Once, after an argument with a secretary, “Mr. Sessions admonished me to ‘be careful what you say to white folks,’” Mr. Figures testified. Mr. Sessions denied saying that and was adamant that he had never called Mr. Figures “boy.”
- In 2013, he voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. (Source herein applies to all bullet points that follow.)
- In 2006, he voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.
- He voted NO not once, but TWICE on adding sexual orientation to the list of identities that are protected against hate crimes.
- In 2011, he voted YES on barring the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
- In 2005, he voted NO on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- In 2000, he voted NO on including prescription drugs under Medicare.
- In 2005, he voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act’s wiretap provision.
Not scared yet? Check out his On The Issues page.
Retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn for National Security Advisor
Trump has also moved to install Michael T. Flynn, a retired lieutenant general who has said that Islamist militancy poses a global existential threat, as his National Security Advisor. This may well be the most terrifying appointment Trump has made in the just-shy-of-two-weeks since he was elected POTUS. Here’s why:
- Flynn has said that Shariah, or Islamic law, is spreading in the United States (it is not). From the New York Times: “His dubious assertions are so common that when he ran the Defense Intelligence Agency, subordinates came up with a name for the phenomenon: They called them ‘Flynn facts.'”
- He was “pushed out“– asked to step down while allowed to claim he was “retiring”– of his post as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency by the Obama administration. Flynn speculated that it was due to his challenging the administration’s narrative that Al Qaeda would soon be defeated. Flynn recounted that the Obama administration’s efforts to arm moderate Syrian rebels benefited extremists such as Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, stating: “If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic.” The Obama administration characterized Flynn’s views and management style as “disruptive and chaotic.”
- Flynn likely shares Trump’s desire to pal around with Putin. He took a paid speaking engagement last year with Russia Today, a television network funded by the Kremlin, and attended the network’s lavish anniversary party in Moscow, where he sat at Mr. Putin’s elbow.
- “There is no substitute for American leadership and exceptionalism. America should not fear our enemies,” Flynn said in his RNC speech. “In fact, we should clearly define our enemies, face them head on and then defeat those that seek to defeat our country and our way of life.” He went on to criticize the Obama administration for reducing the United States’ influence in the world, worrying about being politically correct and acting too hesitantly when it came to using military force.
(Disconcertingly, it appears that Flynn may not share all of Trump’s staunch isolationist views. One of the least offensive aspects of Trump’s platform has been the notion that the U.S. is overly involved in overseas affairs, and that we should focus on fixing problems here at home and stop involving ourselves in everyone else’s business. U.S. citizens on both sides of the aisle, and even on the fringes, agree– not to mention the scores of people around the world whose lives have been made worse rather than better by U.S. intervention in their affairs.
Whatever modicum of safety the world may have gleaned from Trump’s stance flies out of the window upon Flynn’s appointment.)
- Earlier this year, Flynn said on Twitter that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL”. He has also spoken at a conference hosted by anti-Muslim groups.
Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas for C.I.A. Director
Trump wants Pompeo to head the C.I.A. Here are some of his more notable policy positions, connections and statements:
- After a visit to the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in 2013, he told a congressional committee that a hunger strike by detainees was a “political stunt.” He has also denounced President Obama’s decisions in 2009 to a) close C.I.A. black-site prisons, and b) require government interrogators to strictly adhere to the rules of the Army Field Manual. All together, the picture painted here is one of a man who would not fight back against Trump’s stated desire to reinstitute waterboarding. Yikes.
- Yes, he led the investigation against Hillary Clinton and regarding the 2012 incident in Benghazi, Libya (multiple sources confirm this). I personally support efforts to get to the bottom of Benghazi; transparency is important, and no one should get a pass on it, no matter which political party they belong to or how many years of public service they have under their belt. However, to think that someone who supports black-site prisons and breaking standard interrogation laws was in charge of investigating whether someone else was guilty of some sort of human rights violation or disregard for human life is…What’s the opposite of funny? Oh, yeah; disgusting.
- Pompeo has close ties to Charles G. and David H. Koch, the billionaire conservatives who are among the most significant activists in financing Republican candidates nationwide. Koch Industries and its employees have contributed $357,000 to Mr. Pompeo since 2009. In spite of David Koch’s claim to be a social liberal, the vast majority of the federal officials the Koch brothers have helped elect and re-elect since 2010 have been staunch social conservatives. They have spent more than $86 million in support of elected officials, presidential nominees and organizations who do not support abortion rights or same-sex marriage, versus just over $86,000 spent during that same period in support of eight current officeholders who support both abortion rights and marriage equality.
- In 2013, he voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. (Source herein applies to all following bullet points.)
- In 2014, he claimed that the state definition of marriage supersedes federal gay marriage, leaving the door open for individual states to outlaw same-sex marriages even as they become legal on the federal level.
- In 2011, he voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.
- That same year, he also voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act’s roving wiretaps.
- As of November 2010, he has opposed a pathway to citizenship and supported the privatization of Social Security.
- In 2011, he voted YES on terminating funding for National Public Radio.
So our Attorney General with be a man with a sh*tty civil rights record, our head of National Security will be a notorious Islamophobe, and the head of the CIA will be a Koch brothers crony selected by none other than the millionaire real estate agent and TV star who ran on the populist platform of being an “outsider” determined to “shake up the establishment.”
Good luck, America. We’re going to need it.