Dana Milbank has been on a roll ever since Trump was inaugurated. I have been reading his (increasingly snarky) columns in the Washington Post regularly, and recommend them highly.
In a recent column, Milbank considered the various snaky characters who’ve accompanied Trump to Washington. Remember that campaign boast about “the best people”? Trump was going to drain that swamp and bring “the best people” to government. I hate to channel Sarah Palin, but “how’s that hopey-changey thing working out?”
Milbank starts with Sam Clovis, a minor figure who Trump nominated to be Chief Scientist at the Agriculture Department. (Clovis has withdrawn from consideration after being caught up in the Papadopoulos disclosures).
For those who had not heard of Clovis before (which is pretty much everybody), he has been nominated to be the chief scientist at the Agriculture Department, a position that by law must go to “distinguished scientists,” even though he is, well, not a scientist. He is a talk-radio host, economics professor (though not actually an economist, either) and, most importantly, a Trump campaign adviser.
Milbank notes some of Clovis’ “scientific” positions: he’s a climate change skeptic, says homosexuality is “a choice” leading to pedophilia, endorses birtherism, calls Eric Holder a “racist bigot” and Tom Perez a “racist Latino.”
Clovis has lots of equally disreputable company. A group called American Oversight has compiled information on the “best people” who worked on the Trump campaign and subsequently got cushy jobs in the administration; the list is nothing if not enlightening.
There’s Sid Bowdidge, who is now assistant to the secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy. He previously managed a Meineke Car Care branch in Seabrook, N.H. and before that, worked for tire shops. (He lost his job after it was discovered he had called Muslims “maggots.”)
Victoria Barton now handles congressional relations for Regions II, V and VI of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Between 2013 and 2015, she was a “bartender/bar manager.” (Don’t get me started on the housing expertise of her boss, Ben Carson…)
Christopher Hagan, a confidential assistant at the Agriculture Department, was a “cabana attendant” at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y. David Matthews, another confidential assistant, developed scented candles while also serving as a “legal receptionist.”
Some of the other “best” people Trump has hired are well known. Lynne Patton, HUD regional administrator, previously arranged Trump golf tournaments and arranged Eric Trump’s wedding, among other things. Callista Gingrich, just confirmed as ambassador to the Vatican, prepared for this by writing children’s books, singing in a church choir — and being married to Trump ally Newt Gingrich.
Others now in high office are less known: an office page, the author of an anti-Clinton book, a Christian-school librarian, a couple of real estate brokers and a landscaper. Many don’t appear to meet the educational qualifications for their positions. But they did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Milbank didn’t bother to describe those we know: the sorry gang of cabinet officials who range from embarrassing to unqualified to antagonistic to the missions of their agencies. Or the White House “advisors” qualified by virtue of nepotism and/or ability to suck up to the single most unqualified member of the administration, Donald Trump.
We live in a complicated and increasingly dangerous world, and we have elected a President who has absolutely no idea what government does, and no understanding of or respect for the skills and knowledge needed to administer it. Donald Trump ran for President to feed his ego. I seriously doubt that he expected to win; he was simply promoting his brand. He’s a sad and embarrassing buffoon, and he’s surrounded himself with the kind of people who actually look up to someone using a gold toilet.
The same sort of people who voted for him.
PS SORRY FOR INUNDATING YOUR EMAIL BOXES YESTERDAY; THE EXTRA POST WAS PUBLISHED BY ACCIDENT!