Some may be holding out hope for a better White House in view of the recent exits and in anticipation of rumored ones. I see no evidence to support that hope and furthermore see some to the contrary. Let’s explore.
Last week when Donald Trump tweeted Rex Tillerson out of the Secretary of State position he immediately announced some proposed personnel moves. Trump is nominating Mike Pompeo to move over from the CIA to replace Tillerson and will nominate Gina Haspel to move up into Pompeo’s vacated position.
Think what you may of the Iran Nuclear Deal, it was an improvement over the situation that existed prior to it. Granted, Iran is still a bad actor and the deal did not cover any issues other than Iranian nuclear development. I will also concede the fact that Obama slipped it through the “side door” to get around dealing with an obstructionist Senate. The bottom line is that it is vastly superior to no deal, despite Trump inspired right wing mythology it is not going to be renegotiated and it has delayed Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon.
Tillerson, for all his many faults and shortcomings recognized the above. If Pompeo is confirmed you can kiss the deal goodbye. That will result in a nuclear Iran in the near future, further tarnish America’s reputation, make North Korean talks even more difficult and create a trade disadvantage for American businesses.
Haspel, or Bloody Gina as she is known in the CIA, is a veteran of the CIA and would be the first woman to lead the agency. Those are both positives. She was involved in running black sites although her supervision of torture (excuse me – enhanced interrogation) seems to have been inflated in some reporting. Here is the part of her past that disturbs me the most and I find disqualifying: she knowingly and deliberately destroyed evidence of the torture. In my mind that is both a criminal and disqualifying offence. I still believe in the principle that as Americans we are the good guys and hold ourselves to a higher moral and ethical standard than our enemies. My late World War II veteran father taught me that and I will hold true to that standard until my last breath. That is part of American exceptionalism to me.
I’d love to see a CIA veteran come up through the ranks to head the agency and if that person happened to be female all the better. Gina Haspel is not that woman!
Rumors of Attorney General Jeff Session’s firing are old news. I expect one of these days we will see it as breaking news. The latest rumored replacement is EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. It takes a long time to build something and only a short period to destroy it. I guess Trump feels that Pruitt’s job at the EPA is nearly finished. Besides, don’t expect Trump to replace Pruitt with someone who will begin repairing the department.
General John Kelly is currently Trump’s second Chief-of-Staff and is also rumored to be on thin ice. Kelly showed us his true colors in this assignment and destroyed what had previously been a good reputation in the process. The word is John Bolton is in line for the spot. Bolton was George W. Bush’s unconfirmable UN Ambassador who didn’t believe in the UN. Bolton would fall right in line with Trump’s isolationist politics in an increasingly global world. With people like Pruitt at the EPA, Betsy DeVos at Education and Rick Perry at Energy does Bolton really sound out of the mold?
Speaking of Perry of the smart glasses, he is rumored to be replacing David Shulkin at the VA if Trump decides the scandals are too much and he needs to be dumped. At first Shulkin appeared to be one of Trump’s most promising Cabinet picks being a (promoted) holdover from the Obama administration. Given the freedom of being boss and the ethics free environment of the Trump administration describing Shulkin’s performance as disappointing would be generous.
Remember the Trump administration is nothing more than an organized criminal enterprise with the primary mission of enriching Trump. The longer he stays in office the more money he can accumulate. The Mueller probe is almost certain to go on beyond the November elections. Even if the Democrats retake the House in November (far from a sure thing at this point) the next Congress won’t be seated until January of 2019. Trump has the remainder of the year to plunder with only the 25th Amendment to worry about. The more incompetent people beholden to him he can put in the Cabinet the more remote a 25th Amendment solution is.
I still think the most likely outcome is a forced resignation (ala Nixon) but I can’t see that happening in 2018. In the interim if history is to be our guide the Senate Republicans will occasionally talk tough but be Trump enablers in the end. That’s why I say it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.
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