It was reported after last week’s meeting between President Obama and Donald Trump that the President-elect was “surprised by the scope of White House staffing duties.” Since then, Trump and his transition team have been busy. For the most part, they’ve held court at Trump Tower, granting audience to a steady procession of groveling office-seekers — among them longtime, die-hard Trump enthusiasts Ted Cruz, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.
Slowly, the forthcoming Trump administration has begun to take shape.
The first two Trump appointees were Steve Bannon, whose tenure as executive chair of Breitbart News made apparent his deep hatred of women and minorities, and Reince Priebus, who can’t be bothered to take a position on whether or not there should be a registry of Muslims entering the United States. Bannon will serve as chief strategist in the Trump White House, while Priebus will serve as chief of staff.
Trump’s next two appointees were Mike Flynn and Jeff Sessions. Flynn is a retired three-star general who attended a gala for the Russian propaganda outlet Russia Today in 2015, where he sat at a table with Vladimir Putin and former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. He has argued that the United States should increase its support for the autocratic regime in Turkey, in an article for The Hill that mostly parroted that regime’s talking points. When he’s not telling his Twitter followers that it’s “rational” to fear Muslims, he’s often sharing fake news articles, including one that claimed Hillary Clinton was about to be arrested for “sex crimes with minors.”
He’s been tapped to serve as National Security Advisor.
Sessions spent the 1980s getting rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee as nominee to a federal judgeship, mostly because he was and is a screaming racist. He spent the 1990s trying to defund Gay-Straight Alliances at Alabama universities as the state’s attorney general, because he is a raging homophobe who also voted against the Matthew Shepard Act in 2009. He spent the 2000s and 2010s trying his best to make life miserable for undocumented immigrants and Muslims as the junior senator from Alabama, because again, he is a racist.
Sessions, if confirmed, would serve as Attorney General. His full name, I’ll note here for no particular reason, is Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.
Some Texans are also in the mix. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, whose Twitter account called Hillary Clinton the c-word just two weeks before the election, is under consideration for Secretary of Agriculture. Sen. Ted Cruz might serve on the Supreme Court. Former Gov. Rick Perry might serve as Secretary of Energy, which would be a decent choice if not for its suffocating irony: When Perry proposed to eliminate three Cabinet-level departments during his 2012 presidential campaign, the Department of Energy was one of them. Even worse, it was the one he couldn’t remember.
Just under two weeks ago, many Americans were asking if the Trump administration was really going to be that bad. It’s still early, but so far every indicator points to the same answer: Yes. Yes, it is going to be that bad.
Groves is a government sophomore from Dallas. Follow him on Twitter @samgroves.