Trump Transition in Chaos; Is Obama Naïve or in Denial?

The transition into a Trump presidency isn’t going very well so far. The names floated for key positions in the new administration give us all pause, with reactions ranging from raised eyebrows to palms to the forehead. Meanwhile, President Obama seems to think Trump will do absolutely none of the things he promised the during the campaign. Perhaps Obama is in denial about the election that shocked the world and left us with a lunatic-elect.

Trump’s transition got off to a rough start when he had to replace the downward-spiraling Chris Christie as the head of the transition team. Homophobe Mike Pence took over. If that means cabinet positions will be filled with Pence-thinking names, we’re in big trouble.

The latest blow to the reeling transition is the departure of former US Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), a key national security figure. Rogers headed the House Intelligence Committee and is seen as an expert in that field.

Upon announcing his departure, Rogers was like Kevin Bacon at the end of “Animal House” wish his statement. “I look forward to continuing to provide advice and counsel as needed to the incoming Trump administration as they work to make America great again,” Rogers said.

Those who will speak out about the transition were not very complimentary. Former state department official Eliot Cohen tweeted that after having spoken to Trump’s team, “changed my recommendation: stay away. They’re angry, arrogant, screaming ‘you LOST!’ Will be ugly,” as reported by the Boston Globe.

The speculation about who will get what position is pretty scary. Rudy Giuliani says he will not be attorney general but rather wants to be secretary of state. Former Bush administration and neo-con John Bolton is also reportedly in the running for state.

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Establishment conservative Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is said to be the frontrunner for secretary of defense. Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham is reportedly the top choice for press secretary. Lord help us.

The biggest concern is about “chief strategist” Stephen Bannon, the alt-right former Breitbart chief who has a history of polemic statements, writings and Breitbart headlines. Here is a sample of them—some are stunning. “Alt-right” is the new coded word for white nationalism. It’s truly frightening.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens during a news conference, at his Turnberry golf course, in Turnberry, Scotland, Britain June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

President Obama seems to think the hard work he has done in the last eight years won’t be scrapped. After his meeting with Trump (in which he looked like he couldn’t get out of there fast enough), Obama said that when Republicans realize how difficult it is, they won’t repeal Obamacare, won’t withdraw from Iran nuclear deal and won’t trash the Paris climate change agreement.

The Washington Post gets it right when it says Obama may not be naïve as much as he is in a state of denial. “For a little over an hour yesterday afternoon, Americans saw a 55-year-old who has not come to grips with just how big a blow Trump’s victory is to his legacy and his party. He rationalized. He downplayed. He justified. He minimized. With all the trappings of the presidency still his, it hasn’t fully sunk in yet. And it might not for 66 more days, when Trump gets sworn in on the West Front of the Capitol — and Obama begins living as a civilian in Kalorama,” the Post wrote.

With a stroke of a pen Trump can undo anything Obama did by executive order. It’s likely the first thing to go with be the temporary protection from deportation for illegal immigrants.

Obamacare may or may not go. Trump says he wants to keep the preexisting conditions and parental coverage parts of the Affordable Care Act. He also says there will be no gaps in coverage when he repeals and replaces the ACA. There is not, however, any bill ready to go in Congress that would replace it. Millions of people now covered could be in for a rude awakening.