President-elect Donald Trump is packing the Trojan horse he calls a cabinet with nominees lacking minimal requisite experience, temperament, and discipline, or who are callously antagonistic toward the missions of agencies they would head.
Take retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, whom Trump has picked as national security advisor. Flynn has recklessly spread internet garbage that reflects his prejudices. He has called "Islamism" a cancer all Muslims have; repeated anti-Semitic remarks on social media; and circulated fake news that the FBI had evidence Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in a pedophilia ring and a money launderer. No security advisor should be blinded by such biases or in thrall with fake news, especially one who will be advising a president with zero foreign policy experience.
Almost as troubling is the pick of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, fulfilling Trump's promise to dismantle the agency charged with protecting our air, water, land, and health. As Oklahoma's attorney general, Pruitt led the charge against President Obama's plan to cut global warming and its dangerous effect on rising seas, wild fires, and insect infestations. He's a climate change denier and a tool for polluters.
For labor secretary, Trump has chosen CKE Restaurants chief Andy Puzder, who made his millions on the backs of fast-food workers. His appointment would signal the end of the federal government's advocacy for fair wages and decent working conditions, which Puzder has fought. Forget about raising the minimum wage or paying the working poor overtime for putting in more than 40 hours a week.
The outlook appears even worse for working people without affordable health insurance if they or their loved ones get sick. Trump's Health and Human Services nominee, Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.), not only has long sought to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which more than 20 million people now rely on, but also Medicare and Medicaid.
And there's no telling what will happen to public education if Amway billionaire Betsy DeVos, an ardent school choice advocate, becomes education secretary. Sorry, kids.
For the economy, Trump has selected people with records of too often exploiting it for personal gain. His treasury secretary nominee is billionaire film producer and former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin, whose OneWest Bank foreclosed on the homes of thousands of predatory lending victims. Commerce nominee Wilbur Ross made billions feeding off the carcasses of bankrupt companies.
Firms looking for help from the Small Business Administration could find that agency run by Linda McMahon, cofounder of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. There's a twisted logic to this pick. McMahon made a fortune from entertainment masquerading as sport and will now work for a reality TV entertainer whose performance has won him the White House.
Those waiting for a sign that Trump values a diverse administration reflecting the needs of the most vulnerable shouldn't hold their breath. His appointment of Steve Bannon, an internet purveyor of extremist and racist propaganda, as his chief strategist, was an early sign that "drain the swamp" meant make room for the alt-right fringe.
On Jan. 20, Trump will swear a solemn oath to protect and defend us all. It's hard to imagine how with his chosen cohorts.