Donald Trump has assembled a Cabinet in his own image—rich, white and tone-deaf to the problems of ordinary citizens. Senate Republicans shrugged off the White House’s failure to vet nominees, suspended Senate rules, muzzled opposing voices, and ignored troubling conflicts of interest to move Trump’s picks out of committee.
As the Senate gets ready to vote on the nominations of Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary and Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services, and with Andrew Puzder on deck to lead the Department of Labor, lawmakers who’ve put their consciences in a lock-box need to show some integrity.
Steve Mnuchin falsely testified during his confirmation hearing that the bank where he served as chairman and CEO had not engaged in aggressive foreclosure practices. In fact, in one five-year period, the bank was responsible for 16,200 foreclosures on government-backed reverse mortgages, or 39 percent of all foreclosures nationwide.
Tom Price benefited from sweetheart deals, ethically challenged stock transactions and interventions with federal officials to benefit campaign contributors. He lied when asked by the Senate Finance Committee if he’d ever been subject to an ethics investigation. Price has proposed turning Medicare into a voucher program, eliminating the guarantee of health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, and kicking 14 million low-income people off of Medicaid. And he supports defunding Planned Parenthood, and doesn’t believe women’s basic care should be fully covered on the same basis as men’s.
Andrew Puzder is staunchly opposed to paid sick leave protections and to increasing the minimum wage, demonstrating his disregard for the needs of working families. He is CEO of CKE Restaurants, which has been accused of numerous labor violations, and he has proudly expressed his support for the company’s wildly misogynistic advertising campaigns. A major donor to the Trump campaign, the multi-millionaire has shown time and time again that he will not stand up for workers’ rights.
A White House that’s fueled by white male supremacy, “alternative facts” and alt-right hysteria cannot remain unchallenged. Abraham Lincoln assembled a “team of rivals,” but Donald Trump is most at home with a team of oligarchs. The Senate must vote to reject these unqualified nominees. NOW’s message to Senators who would rather kowtow to Donald Trump than challenge his abuse of power is simple—we will see you on Election Day.
M.E. Ficarra , email@example.com