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Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Trump Team

A Rogues Gallery Of Has-Beens, Extremists And Nut Jobs

Image result for trump campaign teamBy now, it has become abundantly clear that Donald Trump has no intention of pivoting to a more “presidential” stance – as if he could, even if he put everything he has into it. 

There isn’t a presidential bone in his entire body. However, if it’s proof you’re seeking, look no further than the people he has chosen for his team.

As an excellent piece in The New Republic  illustrates, the Trump team is a collection of the worst of the worst. 

To be fair, Trump did try to woo some professional political insiders who advised his opponents during the primary season. He extended requests to hundreds of experienced politicos to help him run a successful campaign, including over 150 aides who worked for Ted Cruz. Almost without exception, he was shunned. 

Approaching members of Congress resulted in tepid rather than ringing endorsements; the only enthusiastic Congressional backers have been the tin foil folks who still adhere to that tired fiction about Obama being a Kenyan Muslim who founded ISIS. He ran into the same roadblocks while looking for military and economic advisors. So he was forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel – actually, the scum beneath the bottom of the barrel – in order to assemble his team.

Here they are:

Stephen Bannon, former Goldman Sachs banker turned Breitbart News hack. Bannon has never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like and truth has no meaning to the man. Bannon’s position as Campaign CEO has insured that Trump Unleashed will continue, which also means that millions of Americans, not to mention people around the world, will be disgusted on a daily basis by the garbage being spewed by the Trump campaign

Michael Cohen is Trump’s legal counsel. Cohen is a holdover from Trump’s personal life. He is the attorney who threatened The Daily Beast with a $500 million lawsuit (one of Trump’s favorite ploys) when the Beast was investigating the rape allegations brought by Ivana Trump. Cohen is the Neanderthal who insisted that “you cannot rape your spouse.” (Whatta guy!) He also tweeted a picture of Hillary Clinton last June and accused her of murder while she was serving as Secretary of State.

Chief campaign attorney Donald McGahn II was chief legal counsel for disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, who was indicted for money laundering. Despite his pledge to “campaign with integrity, wholly independent of the dark-money donor class perpetuating a broken Washington,” McGahn enthusiastically cheered the disastrous Citizens United decision. He actually told a group of students that his goal is to prevent enforcement of the nation’s campaign finance laws.

Steven Miller, just 30 years old but already steeped in xenophobic paranoia, is Trump’s policy advisor. He is anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, thinks fighting racism is actually a form of racial paranoia; and as a student at Duke University, claimed that Hollywood is one big pro-LGBT conspiracy that “feels sympathy for the terrorists, detests Republicans and sees America as an obstacle to the world.” 

Perhaps the most damning thing one could say about Miller is that Ann Coulter is completely enamored of the guy, tweeting “I’M IN HEAVEN” when he was appointed to the Trump campaign.

Trump’s top military advisor, Lt. Gen Michael Flynn (Retired) was forced into early retirement in 2014 after his superiors branded him as “disruptive.” He urged Trump to oppose the Iran nuclear treaty. He’s also a frequent contributor to Russia Today (RT News) the propaganda network backed by the Kremlin. Flynn sat at the table with Vladimir Putin on the tenth anniversary of the media outlet last December.

For a foreign policy advisor, Trump chose Joseph Schmitz, a man who Donald Rumsfeld ousted as George W. Bush’s Pentagon Inspector General over corruption charges. John McCain characterized Schmitz’s time at the Defense Department as “a textbook case of bad procurement and favoritism.” 

He has ties to the Center for Security Policy, a group that is so extremely anti-Muslim, it has been banned from attending the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee. 

Before the CIA shut it down, he tried to ship 70,000 assault rifles and 21 millions rounds of ammunition to the Free Syrian Army in an operation funded by a Saudi prince. Add to that, he’s a card-carrying member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, an organization with the stated purpose of defending “territories that the Crusaders had conquered from the Muslims.”

Trump’s chief ally in the Senate is none other than Jeff Sessions, who is a big proponent of Trump’s proposed border wall. Sessions’ appointment as a federal judge under Ronald Reagan earned bipartisan opposition because of his record of prosecuting civil rights activists while he served as a U.S. attorney for the state of Alabama. Sessions called the NAACP “Communist inspired” and excoriated a white civil rights attorney, calling him a “disgrace to his race.”

Another chosen to advise Trump on foreign policy is Walid Phares, a rabid anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who is convinced that the United States government has been infiltrated by jihadists bent on our destruction. Phares is a frequent contributor on Fox News. 

In an interesting aside, during an interview with Trump, Fox host Brian Kilmeade referred to Phares as being Muslim twice – he is not. In fact, he is a Maronite, the largest Christian sect in Lebanon. However, Trump seemed to be unaware of that and agreed with Kilmeade regarding the status of Phares’ religious association.

Harold Hamm is Trump’s choice for energy policy advisor. Hamm is the founder of Continental Resources, who made this declaration at the Republican National Convention: “Every time we can’t drill an oil well in America, terrorism is being funded.” He added, “Climate change isn’t our biggest problem – it’s Islamic terrorism.” 

His company is best known for extensive fracking activity in North Dakota and has the dubious honor of being responsible for more spills, fires, pipeline breaks and oil train derailments than any other energy company drilling in the state.

Paula White is Trump’s evangelical outreach leader. Her resume seems tailor-made to represent someone like The Donald. Her advice to the faithful could be a page fromThe Art of the Deal: “Find your passion in life and figure out a way to make money.” 

She and her second husband were the target of a congressional investigation of the church they ran for the alleged abuse of the tax-exempt status enjoyed by the so-called religious institution. Leaders of the church were provided private planes and multi-million dollar homes. She and hubby #2 refused to cooperate and were never charged. She dumped her second husband and is now married to Jonathan Cain, former keyboardist for Journey.

White dismissed Trump’s racist, misogynistic rhetoric with an airy “He doesn’t know our Christianese. Someone might take a sound bite and say ‘Oh see? He’s not saved,’ or ‘He doesn’t love God.’ That’s the furthest thing from the truth.”

Jeffrey Lord is a CNN commentator who is one of Trump’s biggest apologists. He attacked the suit against Trump University, calling it “bizarre, wacky and legally weak.”

When the whole David Duke controversy was taking place, instead of trying to distance himself, Lord jumped right in and made the assertion that the former KKK Grand Wizard Duke was in reality a “hard-core leftist” whose intent was to discredit Trump. Lord also compared Trump to Abraham Lincoln.

Kris Kobach is Trump’s leading immigration advisor. His credentials include leading the crusade against voter fraud perpetuated by illegal aliens. He helped write the Arizona Show Me Your Papers measure and was the author of an Alabama law that prevents illegal immigrants from attending school, renting apartments and finding employment. 

Koback was the inspiration for Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” policy in the 2012 presidential race. As Kansas Secretary of State, he attempted to have President Obama removed from the ballot as a non-citizen and during a talk radio program suggested that Obama supports immigration reform because he’s actually an illegal immigrant.

Duncan Hunter is one of Trump’s biggest cheerleaders in Congress. He favors dropping nukes on Iran. A member of the House Armed Services Committee, he was opposed to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t tell and argued that the “homosexual lobby” would “take over.”

Trump’s top economic advisor is Stephen Moore, who has close ties to two organizations backed by the billionaire Koch brothers: Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). 

He also worked at the Koch backed Cato Institute. Moore is a big trickle down proponent and has called for $38 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy. His argument is that “Capitalism is a lot more important than democracy.” He is a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and has called climate change “one of the greatest propaganda campaigns in world history.”

Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s national finance chair, another Goldman Sachs alumnus, made a fortune in the sub-prime mortgage market. In 2008, he and a group of investors snapped up the portfolio of the failed IndyMac for pennies on the dollar. He used federal guarantees to pay out $2 billion to his fellow investors by utilizing shady foreclosure practices. Then he turned around and sold the bank and made an additional $2 billion.

Then there’s Chris Christie, Trump’s transition team chairman and unofficial lapdog. With the end in sight for his governorship in New Jersey, Christie is hoping to procure a position in the Trump administration. Passed over for the Vice Presidential spot, he’s still hanging on after Trump told reporters that Christie “would make a great attorney general.”

Trump’s choice for agricultural advisor is Texas agriculture commissioner and former champion cattle roper Sid Miller. Miller is currently under investigation by the Texas ethics commission for campaign finance irregularities. He is also the target of a criminal probe by the Texas Rangers for misuse of public funds.

America’s Mayor Rudi Giuliani is Trump’s most high profile surrogate. His hate filled, fear mongering speech at the Republican National Convention is par for the course from a man who said that Trump’s claim that Obama is the founder of ISIS is “legitimate political commentary.” He’s fond of rewriting history and, like his chosen candidate, ignores facts in favor of whatever fiction comes into his head at any given time. 

Of September 11, Giuliani had this to say: “Under those eight years before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the U.S.” Except, of course, 9/11.

William Pryor Jr. hopes to be a Supreme Court nominee under President Trump. He has called Roe v. Wade “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” He thinks Miranda rights should be thrown out. He believes the government should appoint attorneys to represent fetuses. He has put forward the argument that legalizing gay sex is an invitation to “prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia.” 

He favors striking down laws that protect minorities against bias and has branded federal laws against discrimination as unconstitutional. According to Pryor, states should have the right to discriminate freely and preventing them from doing so is “anti-democratic.”

Newt Gingrich, the man who broke up with his wife as she lay in bed battling cancer, had hoped to be Trump’s VP pick. That didn’t happen and Newt had a bit of egg on his face, but ever the optimist, he is soldiering on, making the ridiculous statement that Trump is going to take out Hillary Clinton in a landslide. 

That’s probably because Trump dangled a carrot in front of him. “In one form or another, Newt Gingrich is going to be involved with our Government,” Trump said in July. “He says I’m the biggest thing he’s ever seen in the history of politics.”

So there you have it. The Trump Team. What a collection of losers. Brought to you by the man who, God willing, will never be president.

Ann Werner is a blogger and the author of CRAZY and Dreams and Nightmares. You can view her work at Visit her on Twitter @MsWerner and Facebook Ann Werner