Top Ten Reasons to Oppose Trump and His Cabinet
Here are Global Exchange's top ten reasons we must stop Trump and his cabinet of billionaires, corporate cronies and ultra-right elites.
1. Environmental destruction. The fossil fuel industry is effectively running the government in Trump’s administration, as shown by his first week in office. He has signed executive orders freezing all federal agency regulations, freezing all existing grants and contracts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – including those involved with water quality testing and cleaning up toxic sites – and imposing a total media blackout on EPA and National Parks Service staff. He also intends to slash EPA’s budget and workforce.
And he signed executive orders clearing the way for both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines to go forward.
The Trump cabinet is a Who’s-Who of Big Oil executives and climate change deniers.
- Rex Tillerson, nominee for Secretary of State, was CEO of Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest fossil fuel company – which for more than 40 years knew about the dangers of human-driven climate change but cynically lied to the public about it while amassing billions in annual profits and violating human rights around the globe. Tillerson refused to acknowledge that humans are contributing to climate change – or that it is a pressing security concern – during his confirmation hearings. He also refused to answer questions about Exxon’s lies to the public or its role in funding climate denialism. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee nevertheless approved his nomination (along party lines), clearing the way for a full Senate floor vote soon.
- Trump has assigned career climate denier Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Pruitt has a long history of suing the EPA. His own bio proudly declares he "is a leading advocate against the EPA's activist agenda.” He has close ties to coal, oil and gas companies and pushes for more drilling (including fracking), which has caused thousands of earthquakes in his state in recent years. He continued to deny settled climate science during his confirmation hearing.
- For Interior Secretary, Trump picked Congressman Ryan Zinke, who wants to extract as much coal, oil and gas as possible from public lands. While he claimed during his confirmation hearings to be opposed to the sale or transfer of public lands, that doesn’t mean he won’t open those lands up to drilling and mining.
- Trump has tapped former Texas governor Rick Perry as Energy Secretary – the same Perry who called for the Energy Department to be eliminated when he ran for president in 2012. Both Perry and Trump have investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is being resisted by indigenous water protectors at Standing Rock.
We have a narrow window to stabilize the climate and avoid catastrophic effects of climate change. The survival of our planet and species may depend on disrupting this administration’s backward agenda.
2. Racism and attacks on People of Color. Trump’s campaign and election were accompanied by a wave of racist hate crimes. His Cabinet picks promise to reinforce the structures of institutional racism that continue to plague communities of color in the United States. He appointed Steve Bannon of the white nationalist Breitbart news to be his “chief strategist”.
His Attorney General nominee, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, is a neo-confederate, white supremacist who has built his career on rolling back civil rights. He opposes the Voting Rights Act and supports voter-ID laws intended to disenfranchise voters of color. In 1986, Sessions was considered unfit to be a federal judge because of his role in documented racist incidents. Since then he has repeatedly confirmed his hostility towards the rights of people of color, women, LGBTQ communities and immigrants.
3. Hostile to Immigrants and Muslims. Trump’s first week in office show how dangerous he is for immigrants and refugees. He signed executive actions to cut federal funds to sanctuary cities, build a wall along the southern border, hire thousands of new Border Patrol and ICE agents, and reinstate mandatory detention and the Secure Communities program that requires local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. He will reportedly sign an executive order in the coming days that will restrict Visas from seven majority-Muslim countries, indefinitely ban Syrian refugees, and temporarily suspend admissions of refugees from everywhere else.
The Senate has already confirmed Trump’s nominees for Defense Secretary (alleged war criminal General James “Mad Dog” Mattis), CIA Director (Congressman Mike Pompeo, a close ally of the Koch brothers who supports torture), and Homeland Security Secretary (General John Kelly, a longtime war hawk in Latin America).
Trump appointed General Michael Flynn – who spread hateful fake news on twitter and said fear of Islam is rational – as National Security Advisor, a position that does not require Senate confirmation.
AG pick Jeff Sessions has been a vocal supporter of building a border wall. He has long supported harsh anti-immigrant legislation, and signaled openness to a ban on Muslim immigrants. If confirmed, Sessions will have ultimate authority over the nation’s immigration courts – with the power to detain and deport millions.
4. Hostile to Women’s and LGBTQ rights. One of Trump’s first acts in office was to institute an even more aggressive form of the “global gag rule” prohibiting U.S. funding to any international organization that performs – or even provides information about – abortions.
Vice President Mike Pence opposes abortion in all cases – including rape and incest. He also believes in so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ youth. As governor of Indiana, he gutted the budget for Planned Parenthood.
Jeff Sessions (AG pick) supported legislative efforts to restrict women’s and LGBTQ rights for decades. He supports a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and opposes reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and equal pay for women.
Health and Human Services (HHS) pick, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, supports efforts to severely restrict abortion and birth control.
5. Anti-Worker. Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder is president and CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent company of fast-food chains Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s. He opposes any minimum wage and has a history of wage theft and union busting. He supports anti-union “right-to-work” laws and has faced legal action for fostering anti-union environments, minimum wage and overtime violations, and workplace sexual harassment.
During the campaign, Donald Trump exploited the widespread unpopularity of so-called free trade agreements to help fuel his rightwing populism. He signed a presidential memorandum withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – even though Global Exchange and our allies had already effectively defeated it last year after sustained opposition. Most of Trump's Cabinet nominees actually supported (or even lobbied for) destructive trade deals like TPP.
Trump also signed a presidential memo freezing all federal government hiring (except military).
6. Mass incarceration and the war on drugs. Jeff Sessions embraces draconian criminal penalties for drug offenses. He calls for “law and order” policies and supports escalating the failed drug war – policies that have already resulted in the mass incarceration of millions of mostly black and brown people in the U.S. He doubled down on these positions during his confirmation hearings, defending torture and opposing measures to hold police accountable for misconduct, including federal consent decrees that impose standards and monitoring on police departments with histories of reported misconduct.
7. Renewed arms race and destabilization of world politics. Trump has tweeted recklessly about escalating a nuclear arms race. His support for hardline Zionists in Israel and for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem – shared by his pick for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, whom the Senate already confirmed – likely spells the end of a two-state solution. This move will reinforce right-wing Israelis who embrace the apartheid of permanent occupation, and it will diminish options for peace.
Trump is expected to reinstitute the policy of using CIA black sites for interrogations, and reportedly will sign an executive order to dramatically cut U.S. contributions to the United Nations.
8. Undermining public education and affordable healthcare. Education nominee Betsy DeVos is a billionaire and ideological extremist committed to privatizing and “charterizing” schools, attacking unionized teachers and dismantling public education. She displayed total incompetence and lack of qualification at her confirmation hearing, during which she refused to answer if state and local governments must abide by federal laws protecting disabled students, or if private schools should meet the same accountability standards as public schools.
Trump’s first target is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare and Medicaid. He laid the groundwork with an executive order to weaken the ACA just hours after taking office. His HHS appointee Tom Price plans to repeal it – as do congressional Republicans. Price has been one of ACA’s most vocal opponents. During his hearings, he indicated that Medicare and Medicaid might also be cut and that some low-income Americans would lose their right to Medicaid coverage. He also stated his belief that coverage should be available – not affordable.
9. Dictatorial tendencies. Trump came to power in an election in which millions were disenfranchised. With Republicans controlling all three branches of government, there are no checks on his power. Trump has shown a disdain for a free press. His first week in office was characterized by lying, waging war on journalists, and criminalizing protesters and members of the press who covered inauguration demonstrations. He’s expressed admiration for autocrats like Vladimir Putin and Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte – responsible for a murderous drug war in which thousands have been extrajudicially executed.
His Secretary of State pick, Tillerson, has extensive business dealings in Russia and even won Putin’s Order of Friendship. In Tillerson’s confirmation hearings, he showed either ignorance of or indifference to human rights violations in Philippines, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Trump’s pick for Federal Communications Commissioner, Ajit Pai, is a rabid opponent of net neutrality.
10. Ultra-wealthy, militaristic, and pro-corporate. The entire proposed Cabinet is a swamp of thieves, robber barons, tycoons, hawkish generals and Washington insiders. The potential for conflicts of interest, corporate cronyism and personal enrichment is rife. Trump himself refuses to release his tax returns (unlike every president in the last four decades) and will not divest his assets. Confirmation hearings have gone forward without a full ethics review, despite troubling questions about many nominees.
Besides those in the pocket of Big Oil, he’s picked Wilbur Ross, a Wall Street billionaire who made his fortune from off-shoring jobs and vulture investments, as Commerce Secretary; and “Foreclosure King” Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive who got rich by kicking thousands of families out of their homes and who pledges to eliminate regulations on Wall Street, as Treasury Secretary. During his confirmation hearing, Mnuchin failed to disclose millions in assets and lied to the Senate about his role in running a foreclosure mill bank.
The incoming Trump/Pence administration must be resisted. Call your Senators (202-224-3121): Tell them your opinion about Trump’s appointees and insist they stand up for human rights and the future of the planet by saying no to all his remaining Cabinet nominees before it’s too late.