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What the best way possible to make sure a nosy news media doesn’t scrutinize Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees too closely? By holding confirmation hearings all at once. That’s the ingenious method Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is using to spare Trump’s peeps some tough media examination. Sure, it deprives the public of a full picture of those who would run the most important parts of government. But no matter. It gives the nominees a better chance of being confirmed.
Next Wednesday (1/11/17) will see a cattle call of Trump’s most controversial picks for key government posts. Six…count ‘em…six hearings are scheduled for the same day. The purpose of having them all at once is so no one, controversial pick will dominate the news cycle. In-depth reporting and media scrutiny will be at a premium, particularly on the cable news shows which has precious little time.
Just to make sure this, “no, look over there” strategy works, Trump has scheduled his long-awaited first news conference for the same day! Brilliant! It’s the same game plan Trump has used with his tweets--to divert attention from something or someone potentially damaging or embarrassing to himself, Trump tweets out something preposterous to attract attention.
The six hearing will be for:
1. Rex Tillerson. Trump’s pick for secretary of state is a big(gest) oil man. He is also a Putin-phile. Questions about his cozy relationships with Russia will dominate the Foreign Relations Committee. He will get nowhere near the attention he’d get without the other five hearings and Trump’s newser.
2. Jeff Sessions. The would-be attorney general probably benefits the most from the spread thin media. He was rejected for a federal judgeship back in the ‘80s—by a Republican majority US Senate—for allegations that he was/is basically a racist. This guy needs to be examined closely but probably won’t be.
3. Elaine Chao. The transportation secretary nominee is probably Trump’s least controversial pick. She’s the wife of McConnell and served in the administration of George W. Bush.
4. John Kelly. The homeland security department nominee should be grilled. He would oversee any “deportation force” to oust illegal immigrants that Trump heralded in the campaign. He would also oversee a ban on Muslims (how that would work is unknown). Kelly is a respected retired Marine General.
5. Betsy DeVos. The billionaire’s qualifications to run the education department escape me. She is an advocate of unfettered charter schools.
6. Mike Pompeo. Trump’s pick to head the CIA is likely going to face questions about whether he agrees with Trump’s smear campaign against the agency and other members of the intelligence community.
It is unknown right now whether Pompeo, like Trump, trusts people like Julian Assange more than the CIA or FBI. (Assange is currently squired away in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, desperately trying to avoid sexual assault charges in Sweden. He’s a real standup guy for Trump to be trusting, don’t you think?)
The smart money is on all six eventually being confirmed. God help us.