Putting Pence in charge of the transition team may be the first (and possibly only) wise thing President-elect Trump has done.
That whole “drain the swamp” mantra needs to mean something, but judging by those who were signing on to the Trump train, it was sloganeering, and little else.
If we can believe what he said on “60 Minutes” this past weekend, Trump believed that hiring lobbyists to fill positions in his cabinet was the only option he had.
With Pence in charge, those lobbyists are being trimmed out and replaced.
Earlier Tuesday, former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, once considered a candidate to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, was ousted from the Trump transition team’s national security unit. Matthew Freedman, who was leading the group’s planning for the White House National Security Council, also departed. Mr. Freedman didn’t return messages seeking comment.
Mr. Rogers was told he was being replaced because everyone who was brought in by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the transition team’s original chairman, was being ousted, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Frank Gaffney, a Reagan administration veteran, was brought in to assist on national security issues, as has GOP U.S. Reps. Pete Hoekstra and Devin Nunes.
“We’re moving step-by-step,” said Rep. Chris Collins (R., N.Y.), who is the transition team’s congressional liaison. “Things are in pretty good shape right now.”
Not to be outdone, or made to look as if he doesn’t have any input, Trump did his part by taking to Twitter to say:
“Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions. I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!”
Finalists. As if they’re beauty pageant contestants.
No word on if he’s walked in on any of them naked, yet.
There are still documents to be provided to the Obama administration, in order that these individuals can be cleared and given briefing materials.
Still, there are hurdles to overcome.
Senator Rand Paul has objected to both former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as possible picks to lead the State Department.
The pair represents “the most bellicose interventionist wing of any party,” Mr. Paul told Reason magazine. “I can’t support anybody to be our secretary of state who didn’t learn the lesson of the Iraq war.”
Beyond the Iraq war, Mr. Giuliani is also drawing scrutiny for his regular appearances at events supporting an Iranian opposition group, called the Mujahedin-e Khalq, which the State Department designated as a terrorist organization from 1997 through 2012.
So Pence has his work as transition leader cut out for him.
We can expect to see this trend continue for the next four years, providing Trump doesn’t bail out, or isn’t quickly “helped out” through impeachment.
It’s the one spot of hope I have over this.
To quote a Bible verse I’ve seen people use against Obama for his entire eight year term in office:
“May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.” – Psalm 109:8 NIV
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