Trump’s appointment do-overs 

President Trump seems to have chosen some well-qualified replacements for his original picks for Labor Secretary and National Security advisor.

After the fast-food tycoon Andrew Pudzer failed to win confirmation in the Senate, Trump has put forward Alexander Acosta, a law school dean and former assistant attorney general who has extensive expertise in labor law.  Acosta, a Cuban-American, would be the first Hispanic member of Trump’s cabinet.  He has already held three positions that required Senate confirmation, and the vote was unanimous each time.

Trump’s choice to replace Gen. Michael Flynn, who resigned after a controversy over his leaked conversations with the  Russian ambassador, is another general: Gen. H. R. McMaster (ret) is a much-praised combat veteran and military strategist.  He is described as “one of the Army’s leading intellects.”

Trump needs to get his cabinet confirmed and in place.  Then and only then can we know what the Trump administration is actually going to do and how well (or how poorly) it will govern the country.

Gen. H. R. McMaster

Gen. H. R. McMaster

Alexander Acosta

Alexander Acosta

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Trump’s labor secretary pick withdraws

Andrew_Puzder_by_Gage_Skidmore_(cropped)President Trump’s pick for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew, after several Republicans in the Senate said they would not vote for him, making his confirmation impossible.  This is Trump’s first setback in putting his cabinet together.

Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which operates the fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

Though a Trump defeat, Puzder’s failure to get confirmed can be seen as a victory for Trump’s ideas.  Puzder has a history of hiring illegal immigrants, both in his company and in his personal house-keeping.  He has been an advocate for increased immigration and had been a supporter of the “Gang of Eight” style immigration reform with its amnesty provisions.   As labor secretary, he would not seem to embody the interests of the American workers who have been casualties of globalism and who put Trump in office.  See this for a conservative case against his confirmation.

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The anti-Trump “resistance”

Members_of_the_Maquis_in_La_Tresorerie

French Resistance fighters, 1944

Democrats have gone into full resistance mode, with Democratic Senators boycotting confirmation hearings to prevent a vote on President Trump’s candidates.  (Republicans suspended the rules and approved Treasury Secretary candidate Steven Mnuchin and HHS Secretary candidate Tom Price anyway.  See this.)

Meanwhile, a self-described “alternative left” has emerged that is pressuring Democratic elected officials not to co-operate with the Republicans.  Notice how the use of the term “the resistance” is taken from what the underground movements that opposed Hitler was called.  See a manifesto after the jump. [Read more…]

Trump’s moderating cabinet

319px-thumbnailSo far the confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s cabinet picks suggests that his administration will be staffed by fairly moderate Republicans.  In fact, the nominees are mostly saying they disagree with their future boss when it comes to Russia, Iran, torture, climate change, banning Muslim immigration, and other topics that Trump made a big deal of in his campaign.

Do you think this will mean that the Trump administration will be more moderate than both his supporters and critics expect?  Or does it mean that Trump picked individuals he liked without carefully attending to their views?  Will Trump be at war with his own cabinet?  Will he run roughshod over them, or will they be a moderating force on him?  Is he all that committed to his signature issues after all?  Or are the cabinet nominees just telling their Congressional interrogators what they want to hear?  Or what?

NOTE:  Both the Senate and the House passed a waiver of the law requiring Defense Secretaries to have been civilians for seven years to allow newly-retired Marine General James Mattis to fill that office. [Read more…]