Donald Trump’s cabinet causes controversy

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photo courtesy of washingtonpost.com

Donald Trump’s cabinet head nominees will have hearings by the Senate early this year.

Angel Kim, Team Leader

It would be reasonable to say that most people in my community were disappointed, to say the least, with the 2016 election results. While the hateful rhetoric that Donald Trump has spread throughout the country has done much to divide the U.S., his cabinet appointees can have equally as drastic effects on the country’s dynamic.

As of Jan. 28, four of Trump’s cabinet members were approved by the Senate: General James Mattis for Secretary of Defense, John F. Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security, and Nikki Haley for United Nations (U.N.) Ambassador.

Mattis and Kelly had both served in the Marine Corps, and were known for pursuing aggressive strategies. Mattis, who retired in 2013, needed a congressional waiver in order to be approved because Defense Secretaries are to be civilians, which would have required Mattis to have been retired for seven years. Meanwhile, Kelly has expressed views calling Russia a threat to the U.S., but was most likely selected for his role due to his experience heading the Southern Command which involves Central and South America. As Secretary of Homeland Security, Kelly will be tasked with managing border security and immigration- including plans for the Mexican border wall that Trump continues to push forward. As much as I would like to think the wall will ultimately not be constructed, Trump’s anti-immigration actions that he has taken in the first few days of his presidency show that anything is possible.

In whole, many of Trump’s other cabinet selections are former members of the military. He has said throughout his campaign that he will focus on the U.S.’s military, which raises concerns on how Trump will be creating a military state that parallels the unstable dictatorships of the 20th century.

Haley’s confirmation has also been a source of conversation, as while her views on foreign policy are similar to other Republicans’, her previous government experience has been within South Carolina. A daughter of Indian immigrants, she is one of few women and people of color that have been selected for a cabinet position. Before the 2016 election, Haley had criticized Trump’s attitude toward Muslims, and I wonder why Trump would select someone who was once against him to a fairly high degree. Some have speculated that he has an ulterior motive, as Trump has even tweeted negative statements about the U.N. this past December.

Though the Senate has yet to confirm or reject Trump’s other department head selections, many are anxious to see the result Department of Education nominee Betsy DeVos’ hearing. DeVos is known for promoting charter schools, and she and her children have no experience in the public education system. Senator Elizabeth Warren also questioned DeVos during her hearing, where DeVos showed no coherent plans for handling student loans. Though many Republicans would have to defect from their party in order to prevent DeVos from being confirmed, thousands of calls from citizens and the fact that their Senate seats will be in jeopardy in the midterm elections may be able to do the trick.

Trump also has nominated many people that are associated with large companies such as Exxon Mobil C.E.O. Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State and W.W.E. co-founder Linda McMahon for- you guessed it- Small Business Administration. However, McMahon stated that she is against strict government regulations for small businesses at her Senate hearing, which can leave positive effects for business growth. However, Tillerson’s international business relations have caused concerns on how much he can profit from his position.

Finally, appointing former neurosurgeon Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and climate change denier Scott Pruitt for Environmental Protection Agency administrator seems unfathomable, yet almost expected. For anyone that isn’t a Trump supporter, the next four years will seem quite long, but I still hope that Trump’s administration will surprise us in a good way.