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Billionaires and Bigots: A look into Trump’s Cabinet Choices so far

By Shelton Bowman, Copy Editor

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If you’re anything like me, the last few months have been filled with a sense of impending doom. You’ve spent the last year and a half making fun of the racist orange clown running for president, while simultaneously reassuring yourself that he couldn’t possibly win.

Now your worst nightmare has been realized and you’re forced to reckon with the fact that as of now, Donald Trump is the most powerful person in the country … and possibly the world.

But if you think he’s the only one we have to worry about, you’re wrong. We also have his cabinet choices to look forward to. As I did more research, I discovered that Donald Trump has spent the last few months cultivating a cabinet of intelligent, racially diverse progressives ready to take on the nation’s most pressing issues.

Just kidding.

I’m sure you’re shocked to hear that the White House is overflowing with white, male, billionaires. Get hyped for Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, Steve Bannon, former executive chairman of alt right media organization Breitbart News, and Jeff Sessions, who was turned down for a federal judgeship in the 80s for being “too racist.” Of course, let’s not forget about Cleveland favorite Mike Pence, former Indiana governor who cited the Disney movie Mulan as proof that women should not fight in the military. I can barely contain my excitement!

Trump’s cabinet choices have raised more than a few eyebrows, and for good reason. During his campaign, Trump prided himself on being anti-establishment. He claimed to want to “drain the swamp” when it came to political corruption. Corruption is a huge problem in the United States. But Donald Trump? Clearly not the man to solve this problem.

He was quick to point out corruption on Hillary Clinton’s part when it came to things like her ties to Wall Street. So it seems a little hypocritical for him to then choose banker Steven Mnuchin who worked on (surprise, surprise) Wall Street, to be his Secretary of the Treasury. Mnuchin was a partner at Goldman Sachs for 22 years, and helped raise tens of millions of dollars for Trump’s campaign.

Mnuchin is only one of three cabinet members to have worked at Goldman Sachs, and is by no means Trump’s wealthiest pick. He has a net worth of only $40 million, making him at the poorer end of the spectrum when it comes to Trump’s cabinet picks. On the wealthier end is Wilbur Ross, Linda McMahon, and Betsy Devos, who have a net worth of $2.5 billion, $1.2 billion, and $5 billion respectively. Trump’s cabinet picks have a net worth of roughly $14 billion dollars and will be the wealthiest of any president ever.

Not only are they really rich, but they’re also really white. I know what you’re thinking, Donald Trump with a cabinet that is both really rich AND really white? Noooo. Trust me, I’m just as surprised as you are. Of his 21 cabinet choices, 15 are white men. Of these white men, a few stand out as particularly troubling. Take Trump’s top strategist, Steve Bannon, one of his more controversial picks. This former chairman of Breitbart news has come under fire for being racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic. The chairman of the American Nazi Party said that this choice proved that Trump was “for ‘real’” and former imperial wizard of the KKK, David Duke, called this choice “excellent.” Just as troubling as Bannon is Breitbart News itself, which in the past has written articles about how the “Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage” and how birth control makes women “unattractive and crazy.” But I think this ominous quote from Bannon himself says it all: “Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. It only helps us when they [liberals] get it wrong. When they’re blind to us and what we’re doing.” That sounds like a quote straight from the Joker or Lord Voldemort, not the man who will soon be helping to run the country.

Another questionable cabinet member is Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. He’s been a senator in Alabama for 20 years, and he’s opposed every immigration bill that’s come his way, including ones that would make it easier for people to immigrate legally. His friends claimed that Sessions frequently used the n-word, and joked about the KKK being “ok” until he learned that they smoked marijuana. In the past, he’s called civil rights groups like the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored people) “un-American” and “Communist inspired.”

There are even more cabinet picks that I didn’t go into, like Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, CEO of Carl’s Junior Andy Puzder, and Betsy Devos, the Secretary of Education who doesn’t believe in public school. But as you skim the list, it becomes apparent that most of them are white and all of them are very rich.

So, I know that I’ve just made you feel really terrible about America and where we’re headed. But let me just say this: People are not happy with Trump or his cabinet choices, and they’re making that known. At Cleveland, many of us are angry. What’s important is that we continue to educate ourselves and others. We need to make it clear that we stand with the minority communities that will be most affected with Trump as president. Most of us don’t feel represented by Trump’s cabinet picks, and that includes the people who voted for him. Donald Trump claimed that he would be an ambassador for the average working class American, and the millions of working class Americans out there can’t be represented by rich, white, men. We, as Americans, have a responsibility to come together and hold him accountable for his past promises.

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The student-run newspaper of Cleveland High School
Billionaires and Bigots: A look into Trump’s Cabinet Choices so far