November 16, 2016

GLANZEL | Trump’s Cabinet

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I, like most people, got 2016 very, very wrong. I thought last Tuesday would be a continuation of the status quo — a third term for President Obama. Instead, I, along with the rest of America, was sorely mistaken.

We have now elected a reality television star as our president. And, not surprisingly, this reality television star has transformed the presidential transition process into a rerun of the Apprentice. As many have pointed out, the Trump team did not expect to win last Tuesday night. They too believed that they were heading for a loss — and as a result, the campaign put little thought into a presidential transition.

Now the race for cabinet posts has turned into an all-out knife fight, as contenders for various posts fight it out in the anarchy that is Trump’s universe. And, quite frankly, the vast majority of potential cabinet nominees are either unqualified for the positions they are being considered for, are too radical to be leading federal bureaucratic departments, or both.

Let’s start with the nominees for Secretary of State. Currently, the front-runner is former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani: a man with absolutely zero qualifications in the field of diplomacy. Mayor Giuliani has no ties to the State Department, has never served in an official diplomatic role, is not currently a member of a foreign policy think-tank, has never served on a foreign relations Congressional committee and has no formal education in foreign affairs. In other words, the former mayor would be one of the most unqualified individuals in American history to lead the State Department if nominated to the post.

Yet, this is not the only troubling part of the mayor’s resume. Recent reporting has uncovered that Giuliani received speakers’ fees from groups in Venezuela, Qatar and Iran. Just let that sink in for a second. Now, what if it had been uncovered during the campaign that Hillary Clinton had given a speech to an Iranian group? Could you imagine the outrage from the Trump world?

But Giuliani is not the only candidate in the running for Secretary of State, as President-elect Trump is also considering former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Unlike Giuliani, Ambassador Bolton is actually qualified for the position, as he has served in numerous State Department roles and has a vast amount of foreign policy expertise. However, Mr. Bolton’s foreign policy views are among the most radical in the field. A firm interventionist, the ambassador believes that the U.S. should immediately launch a preemptive military strike on Iran — an action that would plunge the entire Middle East into war. Bolton’s interventionist views are not only dangerous for global security, but also counter the more non-interventionist foreign policy platform of the President-elect.

Perhaps the only qualified, rational individual that Trump is currently considering for Secretary State is Senator Bob Corker (R – Tenn.), the chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. Senator Corker not only has the experience to lead the State Department, but is also well-respected by the foreign policy community and foreign leaders.

Beyond the State Department, Trump’s selection of Breitbart chief Steven Bannon as Counselor to the President is also highly troubling. Mr. Bannon is a figure of the alt-right, and has routinely made racist and Islamophobic statements. Mr. Bannon’s extremist views represent not only the worst of the conservative movement, but the worst of America.

The President-elect is also considering New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for a cabinet post. Though it is unclear what role the governor will serve in the new administration, most suspect that Christie’s allegiance to Trump throughout the campaign will be rewarded somehow. This is also incredibly dangerous. The President-elect has pledged to “drain the swamps” of corruption in Washington — yet at the same time, he is considering one of the most corrupt politicians in the nation for a cabinet post. Recent revelations have provided clear evidence that the governor was well aware of the George Washington bridge closure in 2013. This closure is the definition of corruption, and Governor Christie should play no role in either the Trump Administration or national politics in general.

Finally, Mr. Trump is also considering former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich for a cabinet post as well. First, and foremost, Mr. Gingrich has not served in a political capacity for nearly two decades. The former Speaker has little understanding of how the modern bureaucracy functions, and has been routinely criticized by former House colleagues for his lack of leadership skills. Furthermore, Speaker Gingrich’s confusing and often irrational behavior (please refer to his 2012 presidential run in which he called for the establishment of a human colony on the moon) makes him a very dangerous choice for a cabinet appointment.

Overall, the conservative movement is not without qualified candidates for the many cabinet positions that must be filled. Furthermore, Trump’s selection of RNC Chair Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff shows that the President-elect is willing to name rational thinking individuals to senior administration positions. It is with this knowledge that I hope that the President-elect is willing to avoid making careless appointments.

Michael Glanzel is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected]Cornell Shrugged appears alternate Thursdays this semester.