Analysis: Trump Cabinet Most Anti-Government In Decades


Surveying President-elect Donald Trump's nascent Cabinet, the business mogul's appointees have a recurring theme: The majority of them are openly hostile to the agencies that they have been nominated to lead.

Trump still has key roles to fill for his incoming administration, but his crew of nominees so far indicate a team that is committed to dramatically rolling back the power of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Education (DoED). 

The most striking example might be Trump's appointee to head the EPA, Republican Attorney General (AG) Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma. A vocal critic of environmental regulations that impede businesses, Pruitt has sued the agency over six times during his term as Oklahoma's top prosecutor, according to The Washington Post.

Pruitt has been a vocal critic of the EPA, accusing the agency of having a "dictatorial attitude." In November, the Oklahoma AG stated during a radio interview that the EPA would be transformed to "provide certainty business industries across this country… There's going to be a regulatory rollback."

Another example is Trump's nominee for AG, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Despite being appointed to head the Department of Justice (DOJ), which holds the highest authority in law enforcement and the protection of civil rights in the country, Sessions was denied a judgeship in the 1980s by a GOP-controlled Senate committee because they had deemed him to be a racist, The Atlantic reports.

In 2015, Sessions blasted the DOJ, stating that the department's "civil-rights division goes beyond fair and balanced treatment, but has an agenda." The Alabama senator has previously called the 1965 Voting Rights Act "intrusive" and has accused civil rights organization such as the NAACP and the ACLU of "forcing civil rights down the throats of people."

Trump's appointee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, would oversee American public schools despite never having worked as an educator. Neither DeVos nor her children have attended public schools. A renowned GOP fundraiser, DeVos has historically advocated for diverting public school funding to the creation of charter schools and has been opposed to teachers' unions, The New York Times reports.

Trump's pick for Secretary of Labor, fast food CEO Andy Puzder, has previously advocated for implementing automation in the service industry and has been a staunch opponent of raising the minimum wage, Business Insider reports.

"If you're making labor more expensive, and automation less expensive — this is not rocket science," Puzder had stated.

Then there is Trump's nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to head HUD, an agency that oversees mortgage loans and works to ensure fair housing. In a July 2015 op-ed for The Washington Times, Carson blasted HUD for its fair housing policy.

"There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous," Carson wrote.

Trump's emerging Cabinet appears to have a pattern of appointees who fundamentally disagree with the mission of the departments that they have been nominated to manage. Whether or not this is a sound strategy is likely to elicit a divided response among liberals and conservatives. 

The business mogul's administration has echoes of Republican President Ronald Reagan's Cabinet, as noted by Professor Meg Jacobs of Princeton in an op-ed for CNN.

In 1981, Reagan had vowed to craft a Cabinet that would strip down government, which bears similarity with the current Trump administration.

"Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem," Reagan had said. 

Sources: The AtlanticBusiness InsiderCNN, The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Washington Times / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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