Socialist Worker

Donald Trump's bad dream team

In New York’s Trump Tower, a vile presidential transition team is putting together a cabinet and filling over 1,000 senior posts. Tomáš Tengely-Evans gets to know our new overlords

Issue No. 2531

The Ku Klux Klan welcomed Stephen Bannons appointment

The Ku Klux Klan welcomed Stephen Bannon's appointment (Pic: DaTechGuyBlog)

One of the first appointments made by the transition team offers a chilling glimpse of what Trump’s presidency could look like.

Former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard David Duke hailed Stephen Bannon’s appointment as chief strategist and senior counsellor as “excellent news”.

Bannon is the man behind white nationalist Breitbart News website—a home for those who think Rupert Murdoch’s right wing Fox News is too wedded to “politically correct liberalism”, as he put it.

Breitbart serves up a cocktail of Islamophobia mixed with older forms of racism.

When Confederate flag-waving racist Dylan Roof murdered nine black church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina, Breitbart called for readers to “Hoist it High and Proud”.

It uses antisemitic conspiracy theories and coded myths, yet staunchly backs Israel to defend US imperialism’s interests in the Middle East.

This was summed up when Republican Newt Gingrich said without irony that Bannon couldn’t be antisemitic because he worked in banking and Hollywood. The supposed dominance of these sectors by Jewish people is one of the most well-worn antisemitic myths.

Bannon also rails against “crony capitalism” and big banks. To be fair, that’s something he’d know about. After quitting the US Navy, Bannon worked for Goldman Sachs before setting up his own investment bank.

He now claims that there are too many Asian bosses running companies in California’s Silicon Valley.

Which is a bit rich from the man who said, “What turned me against the whole establishment was coming back from running companies in Asia in 2008 and seeing that Bush had fucked up.”

Family values—the Trump way

Why have one Trump when you can have the lot? Daughter Ivanka, sons Eric and Donald junior and son-in-law Jared Kushner are all in the new team—making it a real family affair.

Mike Pence—at war with women and unions

As governor of Indiana, Mike Pence forced women who have abortions to give the foetus a funeral

As governor of Indiana, Mike Pence forced women who have abortions to give the foetus a funeral (Pic: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons)

Leading the transition team is vice president-elect Mike Pence—a favourite of the Christian fundamentalist right and staunch opponent of women’s rights.

As congressman then governor of Indiana he pushed through a series of attacks. In 2007 he tried to defund Planned Parenthood, a charity that provides reproductive health care services.

He then pushed through a law that makes any woman who has a miscarriage or abortion in the state give the foetus a funeral.

He also backed a law allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT+ people.

When not railing against condoms, Pence supports big business and bashes trade unions. He opposed the minimum wage—claiming “it would hurt working people”—and a bill guaranteeing trade union rights.

Lobbying for a hurricane

The team’s number two is Ron Nicol, heading six departments including defence and domestic policy.

Nicol is a senior adviser for the Boston Consulting Group, whose alumni include 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney and Israeli war criminal Binyamin Netanyahu.

One of its major areas is advising government officials on how to push through privatisation in schools and smash teachers’ unions.

It saw the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as an “opportunity to transform education”.

David Malpass is another corporate lobbyist central to the team of a president-elect who pledged to take on the political machine and bring back jobs.

Malpass, now in charge of Trump’s economic policy, is president of consulting firm Encima Global.

He previously worked for Bear Stearns investment bank and in the administrations of presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Contra indications

In charge of management and budget is a man who knows a thing or two about running money.

Edwin Meese was Reagan’s attorney general and trusted friend during the Iran-Contra scandal. US officials in the 1980s sold arms to Iran to bankroll a secret war against Nicaragua’s left wing government.

The right-wing Contras they funded were death squads with a taste for torture and mass slaughter.

If you liked the Iraq war, you’ll love this lot

Retired generals are a key part of the team, including former spy chief Mike Flynn in charge of national security.

In a book on “how we can win the global war against radical Islam and its allies”, Flynn said he was “not a devotee of so-called political correctness”.

That will be why he could tweet, “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

He also retweeted a post mocking Hillary Clinton’s media allies with the phrase “Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore.”

Retiring from the army in 2003 didn’t stop Keith Kellogg helping trash Iraq. He was hired to run the occupation force whose misrule created poverty and sectarian violence. Since then he’s made a killing with mercenary contractors.

...And here's who could be next

Climate change skeptic Sarah Palin could be in charge of the environment

Climate change "skeptic" Sarah Palin could be in charge of the environment (Pic: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons)

With almost two months until Trump’s inauguration the team has plenty of time to find other horrible henchmen.

Some of those in the running include Tea Partier Sarah Palin. This climate change “skeptic” and Big Oil’s biggest fan could be put in charge of the environment.

Rudy Giuliani hopes for a juicy role like attorney general or secretary of state to reward him for being one of the first prominent Republicans to support Trump.

As mayor of New York he had homeless people rounded up, slashed school funding and backed racist police to the hilt.

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