President-Elect Trump’s Cabinet Picks

By P.J. O’Rourke

The liberal establishment elite loathes Donald Trump’s prospective appointees to the White House Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions.

I’ll take that as a positive sign.

But Trump’s choices are a mixed bag. Time will tell whether this mixture results in a Lincoln-style “Team of Rivals” or whether it breaks the “FedEx Rule” – don’t pack the cat with the dog…

Appointments That Look Pretty Good… Or at Least, Pretty Interesting

Secretary of Defense – Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis

Liberals are upset that a military man will be running the military. Am I missing something here? If Trump were hiring a chef, would he say, “I’ll give you the job on one condition – you can’t cook.”

Department of Homeland Security – Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly

He’s getting the same kind of criticism. When the security of the homeland is under threat, should we send the Marines? Nah, that’s too extreme. That’s almost as extreme as owning a gun to protect the security of your home. Liberals think we should swat intruders with a rolled-up copy of the New York Times.

Department of Housing and Urban Development – Ben Carson

The mission of HUD is giving help to poor people. Carson was one. Somehow, in the strange mind of liberals, this disqualifies Carson for the job – as if it would be more in the spirit of giving to choose a blind man to put up the Christmas decorations and a deaf man to select the carols.

Secretary of Education – Betsy DeVos

She’s an advocate of charter schools and a generous donor to that cause. Charter schools are an attempt to give public-school students a private-school education. Liberal elites are opposed to that idea.

Let’s ask those elites a dumb question. Why do you send your kids to private schools?

Now, let’s ask ourselves a couple of smart questions. How much, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, is spent per capita on U.S. public-school students grades K through 12? $12,296 a year. How much, according to the Private School Review, is the average tuition for a private school, grades K through 12? $9,582 a year.

Commerce Secretary – Wilbur Ross

The billionaire investor made his money by taking failing industries and resuscitating them with intense applications of time, effort, and private capital.

Sounds like a plan.

Health and Human Services – Tom Price

As a congressman, Price has championed repealing and replacing Obamacare. We’d better. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Obamacare health insurance will cost taxpayers $1.3 trillion over the next decade.

This is not how insurance is supposed to work. When your car insurance is more expensive than your car, it’s time to take a hike.

Small Business Administration – Linda McMahon

Small business owners know the system is fixed. They don’t stand a chance against government regulation and interference. Professional wrestling is fixed, too. (Don’t tell the fans.)

Takes one to know one. McMahon – who used to run World Wrestling Entertainment with her husband Vince McMahon – is the right woman for the job.

Secretary of Transportation – Elaine Chao

A brilliant strategic move. She’s married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Either the Senate signs off on Trump’s great big infrastructure plans or Mitch sleeps in the garage.

Appointments That Indicate “Adult Supervision”

Vice President – Mike Pence

Maybe Pence will be excused from the usual VP duty of attending foreign dignitary funerals and be allowed to stick around to tell President Trump – when Trump gets too impulsive – “It’s your funeral.”

White House Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus

He made it through the 2016 Republican caucuses, primaries, and convention without letting his head explode. It is to be hoped that Reince’s exercise in self-restraint will be good practice for exercising restraint over the cats and dogs in Trump’s administration.

Appointments That Fall into the Category of “We’ll See…”

Secretary of State – Rex Tillerson

Is the CEO of ExxonMobil too chummy with murderous thug Vladimir Putin? I’m sure we’ll find out in excruciating detail during a Senate confirmation hearing that will test the patience of the nation and The Donald.

In the meantime, my suggestion to Rex is that he take the “Order of Friendship” that he was awarded by Russia in 2013 and display it where it belongs – in the outhouse next to the Sears and Roebuck catalog.

In Tillerson’s favor, can he be any worse than the last two Secretaries of State, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton? They were nothing but a pair of flying blab-fests, jetting around the world to yacky-yack in all the places that would later blow up in their faces.

Also, Tillerson of all people must realize that U.S. energy policy cannot be separated from U.S. defense and diplomatic policy.

ExxonMobil has been successful in driving hard bargains for gas and oil exploration in more than 50 countries. Some of those places – such as Venezuela, Yemen, and Kurdistan – are not easy places to do business. Tillerson might be the right guy to tell certain countries to “frack off!”

National Security Adviser – Retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn

Reputedly, he’s a bit of a hothead and a bit of a hardhead. The fight against Islamic terrorism doesn’t need a lukewarm softy, but the National Security Advisor has to stay cool and think things through.

Which, I guess, is why we have…

Deputy National Security Adviser – K.T. McFarland

She comes straight from Fox News. Not that Fox News is famous for staying cool or always thinking things through. But whatever its faults, Fox News does present a more accurate picture of America and the world than the Obama administration ever has.

Department of Energy – Rick Perry

Good for you, Donald Trump – appointing a man who was one of your most bitter opponents for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

But while it’s great to “let bygones be bygones,” let us not forget that Perry, in his 2012 run for the presidency, promised to eliminate this redundant, intrusive, expensive, and useless federal agency.

As Digest readers may recall, Perry proved somewhat absentminded about the name of the department he has now been named to head. This should jog his memory. Now let’s make Perry keep his promise.

Environmental Protection Agency – Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

He’s somewhat of a “climate change denier,” which I am not. Humans have been pumping tons of gunk into the atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It would be odd if this didn’t have some effect. But climate change fanatics need to be opposed.

Climate change has become the go-to liberal excuse for massive expansion of government control over everything. That control is costing us too much in jobs, economic growth, and personal liberty. Better a little cheap skepticism than a lot of expensive credulity.

Secretary of the Treasury – Steve Mnuchin

I’m not sure about putting a former Goldman Sachs guy in charge of the U.S. Treasury. Considering all the bailout funds that the squawking and flapping Goldman Sachs pecked out of taxpayer hands during the financial crisis, this is sort of like setting a chicken to guard the chicken coop.

But I’ve checked U.S. debt and deficit figures. It’s not like we have any nest eggs in there, anyway.

(P.S. Mr. Prospective Secretary, no inviting Hillary to give paid speeches to your staff.)

Attorney General – Jeff Sessions

The senator is alleged to be a racist because he made a joke about the KKK – as if crazy morons running around in bedsheets aren’t funny, especially when the bedsheets are the floral-patterned, king-size, fitted-corner kind.

Expect Democrats in the Senate to ask Mrs. Sessions to go through her linen closet and see if anything in there has eyeholes cut into it.

Secretary of Labor – Andrew Puzder

A lot of labor leaders supported Clinton. A lot of the labor rank and file voted for Trump. Therefore, appointing a Secretary of Labor that labor leaders hate is a clever more. Maybe.

Puzder – CEO of the company that runs the fast-food restaurant chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s – is strongly opposed to raising the minimum wage. There are many strong economic arguments against raising the minimum wage, but I’m not sure how the labor rank and file feels about the issue.

Personally, I’ll say this: As a young man, I was a minimum-wage worker. Believe me, I was worth the minimum wage.

Ambassador to the United Nations – Nikki Haley

This would seem to be a waste of a talented politician, who is also one of the few current elected officials offering proof that the GOP can attract support from people other than grumpy old white men like me.

The proper role of the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. is to go to that useless talking shop in New York and tell the representatives from Carjackistan, Potsandpania, Abscondaland, etc. to go take a flying expletive in the direction of a lunar orbit.

I can think of a better person for the job, a person who happens to be in New York a lot anyway.

Mr. President-Elect, you should go to the U.N. yourself.

Regards,

P.J. O’Rourke

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