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Boardman writes: "What follows is a briefly annotated roster of the key players on Team Trump assembled to carry out its game plan of a top-down assault on America, to seize and destroy much of the US government as it existed in 2016, and to accept whatever collateral damage may ensue."

Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump are joined by congressional leadership, including Paul Ryan, before formally signing his cabinet nominations into law at the Capitol on Jan. 20. (photo: Getty Images)
Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump are joined by congressional leadership, including Paul Ryan, before formally signing his cabinet nominations into law at the Capitol on Jan. 20. (photo: Getty Images)

Team Trump’s Wrecking Crew – The Early Roster

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

06 February 17


The Donald’s various US-haters want to make America grate again

here’s little question that a cohort of the people who elected Trump, possibly a minority of a minority of the population, want to tear down most of the existing government and replace our imperfect government of the people, by the people, and for the people with — well, with what? It’s not really clear beyond the premise that the Trump hats decide and the rest of us are expected to obey bare-headed.

The people who didn’t elect Trump, along with the people who regret electing Trump, as well as the people who didn’t elect anyone — all those people, a majority of a majority, are already reacting in surprising numbers against early Trump initiatives. This apparent majority of Americans, with little help from Democrats or any of the other old swamp creatures in the Trump-drained swamp, have more or less spontaneously risen in resistance to Trumpian attacks on freedom, decency, constitutionality, and whatever else might offend the nonpartisan oligarchy of rich predators.

The game is on now, and this may be the real Super Bowl for American constitutional government. Unlike a typical sports bowl, this political bowl has constantly changing rules, no time outs, and a running clock for the game’s four-year duration. There is no out-of-bounds and there is no limit on the numbers of plays a team can run at the same time. And this time, this bowl has only one organized team on the field, Team Trump. The Trumps say the media is the “opposition party,” to which Democrats offer no objection, making it clear that where, in the past, there was something like an opposing team, now there is a so-far largely disorganized rabble and maybe some specialty squads (like the courts). This other “team” has no unifying playbook, but it has the numbers, it can jam the field with more players than the Trumps, at least now in the opening period, and that makes the game seem less one-sided, perhaps.

What follows is a briefly annotated roster of the key players on Team Trump assembled to carry out its game plan of a top-down assault on America, to seize and destroy much of the US government as it existed in 2016, and to accept whatever collateral damage may ensue.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (POTUS) – Donald J. Trump, 70, the team captain, quarterback, calls the plays, sometimes takes suggestions from the sidelines, is well known for being not very well known except in a celebrity sense. Businessman. Billionaire (alleged net worth $3.7 billion, no transparency; Trump himself has said $10 billion). How unpredictable is he really? Who, if anyone, has his ear?

VICE PRESIDENT (1st in line of succession to Presidency) – Mike Pence, 57, attorney, conservative radio host, congressman (12 years), Tea Party loyalist, governor (3 years). Est. net worth $300,000 (not a typo). Said he is “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” Stands for religious freedom to control other people. Has never released tax returns. Seems to believe God has his ear.

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE (2nd in line of succession) – Paul Ryan, 47, not actually a Team Trump member, but forced by circumstance to line up with the team. Est. net worth $5 million. Professional politician, congressman (18 years), Ayn Rand devotee (25 years), fitness fanatic (30 years). Enemy of Social Security, among other things. Not known to have an ear.

PRESIDENT PRO TEM OF US SENATE (3rd in succession) – Orrin Hatch, 82, also not an official Team Trump member but boxed in by circumstance. Est. net worth $4 million. Attorney, senator (41 years), reliably slippery, trashed Anita Hill, tied to pharmaceutical industry, opposed fair housing. Keeps ear to ground.

SECRETARY OF STATE (4th in succession) – Rex Tillerson, 65, oil industry engineer (42 years), CEO of Exxon Mobil (10 years), close business ties with Russia/Putin, opposes sanctions on Russia (over Crimea, Ukraine). Est. net worth $325 million. Clear conflicts of interest, but business interests depend on global peace. Comes across as one of the grown-ups in the room. Seems to have ears in all directions.

SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY (5th) – Steve Mnuchin, 54 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), Skull and Bones at Yale, Goldman Sachs honcho (17 years), hedge fund manager (6 years), OneWest Bank owner and rapacious mortgage forecloser (8 years). Est. net worth $300 million. Not prosecuted for “widespread misconduct“ of bank. Defendant in fraud lawsuits. In financial disclosure, “forgot” $100 million. Opposes bank regulation, corporate taxation. Enjoyed Kamala Harris blowing in his ear.

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (6th) – Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis, 67, first cabinet member confirmed, vote of 98-1, despite law barring his taking office. Career military officer (48 years). Never charged with war crimes in Iraq (not even Fallujah, Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre). Post-military corporate board member. Est. net worth $5 million. Obama appointee. Takes hard line on China, North Korea, Iran. Opposed targeting Muslims, until Trump did it. 2013 quote: “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.” Ear tuned to master’s voice.

ATTORNEY GENERAL (7th) – Sen. Jeff Sessions, 71 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), Eagle Scout, attorney, US attorney (12 years), senator (21 years). Rejected by Senate in 1986 as too racist to be federal judge. Supported Iraq war, opposed same-sex marriage. Est. net worth $8 million. Epitomizes southern charm and viciousness, graded “zero” by Human Rights Campaign. Opposes Voting Rights Act. Believes life begins at conception, marijuana more dangerous than alcohol, and climate change not real. Has ear tuned to the smallest slight.

SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE (8th) – Sonny Perdue, 70 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), veterinarian, Georgia state legislator (both parties, ten years), Republican governor (8 years). Net worth $4.4 million. No direct experience in agriculture, led official state prayers for rain in 2007, Trump calls him “a great, great farmer.” Conflict of interest land deal 2003, doubled value of his property. Loves Confederacy, voter ID laws. Open ear to agribusiness.

SECRETARY OF COMMERCE (9th) – Wilbur Ross, 79 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6) investor/banker/leveraged buyout (50+ years), known as the “King of Bankruptcy” who off-shored 2700 jobs since 2004. Net worth est. $2.9 billion, 10 times Bush’s entire cabinet. Sago Mine disaster 2006 killed 12, part-owner Ross well aware of safety violations. Opposed TPP, China-bashing as “intellectually wrong.” He doesn’t have to listen to anyone.

SECRETARY OF LABOR (10th) – Andrew Puzder, 67 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), attorney (22 years, including 5 years with a mob lawyer defending charges of looting Labor trust funds), CEO of CKE Restaurants (Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr.) (17 years). Est. net worth $45 million. Opposed minimum wage increase, overtime pay, Obamacare, paid sick leave. Spoke highly of robots/automation because machines are “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.” He has a hard time hearing worker issues.

SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (11th) – Dr. Tom Price, 63 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), doctor in his own orthopedic clinic (20 years), Georgia Senate (10 years), congressman (12 years). Opposes abortion rights, gay marriage, gun control, environmental regulations, Obamacare, National Public Radio, and withdrawing US forces from Iraq. Est. net worth $13.6 million. Shady deals include his buying shares in Zimmer Biomet, then introduced legislation to help the company, which then donated to his campaign. He has not heard from prosecutors.

SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (12th) – Dr. Ben Carson, 65 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb.6), neurosurgeon (30 years), politician (4 years). Est. net worth $29 million. He has no experience in government generally, and none in housing or urban development. He told Fox News: “We cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities. We have to get beyond the promises and start really doing something. The amount of corruption and graft and things, shell games that are played — we need to get rid of all that stuff.” He has his ears cocked.

SECRETARY OF ENERGY (13th) – Rick Perry, 67 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), Eagle Scout, salesman, cotton farmer (with father), career politician (33 years). Switched from Democrat to Republican in 1990, ran for Agriculture Commissioner, Karl Rove campaign manager, beat Jim Hightower by 1%. Est. net worth $3 million. Texas governor (14 years). Running for president, famously forgot he wanted to abolish Energy Department. Has no experience or expertise in energy issues, most of which involve nuclear reactors and weapons. He says “nucular.” He keeps an ear peeled for every siren song.

SECRETARY OF EDUCATION (14th) – Betsy DeVos, 59 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), born rich, married richer, philanthropist and school “choice” advocate. Est. net worth $5.1 billion. She and husband support Neurocore, a string of “brain performance centers“ based on fake science. Opposes public schools. Advocates unregulated government spending on private, religious, charter schools. Testified using fake statistics. Supports guns in classrooms to defend against “potential grizzlies.” Listens carefully to own voice.

SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (15th) – Dr. David Shulkin, 58 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6), doctor and medical administrator (31 years), current Under Secretary in Veterans Affairs (Obama nominee). Est. net worth $17 million. Trump reported considering privatizing VA, Shulkin testified: “The Department of Veterans Affairs will not be privatized under my watch.” Critique: he’s not a veteran, that he’s working with the Koch Brothers to turn VA into an insurance company. Keeps ears pinned back.

SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY (16th) – Gen. John F. Kelly, 67, career military officer (47 years), confirmed by 88-11 vote despite law barring his taking office. Est. net worth $4 million. Opposes sanctuary cities, DREAMers. Supports Mexico wall with “a layered defense,” including patrols and sensors. Calls drug trade “existential threat“ to US. 37 Democrats voted for him. Said: “I don’t know why they hate us, and I frankly don’t care, but they do hate us and are driven irrationally to our destruction.” Hears what he wants to hear.

SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION – Elaine Chao, 64 (not in line of succession, not natural born citizen), came to US on freighter at age 8, banker (25 years), Secretary of Labor (8 years), married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (24 years), part of 1996 shady campaign giving. Est. Net worth $24 million. Favors highway spending. Disregards energy efficiency, urban transit, pedestrians. Has extensive business and political links to China. Listens to own drummer.

SECRETARY OF INTERIOR (not currently in line of succession) – Ryan Zinke, 56 (nominated, not confirmed as of Feb. 6, would become 8th in line for Presidency), Navy SEAL (22 years), Montana legislator (2 years), congressman (2 years). Est. net worth $800,000. Wrote 2010 letter calling climate change “a threat multiplier for instability in the most volatile regions of the world.… the clean energy and climate challenge is America’s new space race.” In Congress backtracked, “not proven science,” got grade of 3 from League of Conservation Voters. Opposed federal land giveaways, favors gas/oil/mining exploitation. He seems to hear the money talking.

That’s it for the cabinet and presidential succession members of Team Trump. Still to come: Team Trump deep insiders, like the CIA, National Security Counsel, and White House staff.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+31 # CDMR 2017-02-06 12:36
Indeed, this is truly a gallery of rogues. They show great potential to do a lot of harm. But Trump is in the white house. No matter how much anyone complains, he won the election for what it was. He won because the Democratic party much gave it away by running a very weak campaign and by not sensing where a lot of Americans were.

Complaining, pissing, and moaning won't fix anything. We don't control the republicans and they won't fix Trump. The only way to fix Trump and this wrecking crew is to reform the democrat party so that it can make substantial gains in the 2018 elections. The Demos probably can re-take control of the Senate and make up a few seats in the house.

The Demos are running the risk of alienating even more people than they did in 2016. No one is impressed by pissing and moaning. They want to see positive action. They want change. They want their lives to be "great again." I know that is a terrible con-artist slogan but the Demos are going to have to promise something if they hope to win. Pissing and moaning is a formula to putting Trump's crew in power for 8 years.
+5 # economagic 2017-02-06 16:12
Forget the Democratic Party until it remembers you.

I can easily name a dozen critical global systems that are right now stressed to the breaking point without stopping to think or take a breath. I know I can because I've been doing it on demand for several years. I agree with Chomsky that the top two threats are climate disruption and nuclear war, but those are just the tip of the melting iceberg. Electoral politics is a rear-guard action that needs to be fought, but the chances that civil government is going to be any help is slim to non-existent. If we want humankind to survive we're going to have to build the necessary institutions mostly on our own and quickly.

Fortunately there are lots of separate movements already hard at work on various aspects of the problem. The Jacobson Plan to address climate change at state and local levels is a relatively new one. Others include the Transition Movement, Slow Food, Slow Money, and literally hundreds of others. The key is to start in one's own neighborhood, rebuilding community and local economy, with an emphasis on co-operatives and other forms of community-level collaboration. Do a web search on the above, then look for related groups in your own community. Groups working from the "Indivisible Guide" (a slightly different aspect of the problem but with lots of active tendrils) are arising in most towns of any size in the US.
0 # WBoardman 2017-02-06 16:13
With no disrespect to CDMR, there are more immediate
and better things to focus on than the 2018 election
(which laid out, as it happens, to favor Republicans).

No argument that "Democratic leadership" is and has been
a sad oxymoron for years. Pelosi is an albatross (of course she
dampens Trump impeachment, she couldn't even support
impeaching Bush for blatant war crimes and crimes
against humanity).

But right now, it's worth the effort to try to keep Gorsuch
off the Supreme Court. A 4-4 court is better for the country
than a full court with him on it. Democrats wussed out and
let Republicans block Garland with little fight. Some of them,
now, are ready to fight and we should support that.
Losing leaves us no worse off than not fighting – and
arguably better off, because people will see the principled fight.

Franken, Baldwin, Sanders and others need our support.

The Democrats don't seem capable of fixing themselves,
but with enough people pressure we might begin to
turn them into a responsive populist party. That pressure has
started and needs to continue on a daily basis.

And that level of engagement might actually improve
the prospects for 2018. Starting with 2017 elections.
+2 # Cassandra2012 2017-02-06 19:44
The DemocratIC party has a lot to answer for, but Trump's cheating, and the rigging of the electoral college votes are not among them!
+1 # mh1224jst 2017-02-06 21:49
Yes, people feel betrayed. They thought they were voting for higher pay and more jobs. So focus on Trump's outrageous "trickle-down" policy, for starters.
0 # Saberoff 2017-02-07 00:24
You will not "reform the Democratic Party." And they have been "alienating people" for a lot longer "than they did in (just) 2016."

You put your apples in that cart (again) and you lose - again.

How many times do you have to get kicked in the teeth to know that? All the Democrats are are equivocators, cry babies and finger pointers (not to mention liers and fixers).

Good luch with them, though. They're already showing their metal.
+1 # Floridatexan 2017-02-07 08:13
Don't blame the Democrats for Trump. Blame the right-wing noise machine led by Fox that has propagandized a significant portion of the population and brainwashed them. Blame the disaster capitalists that have outsourced jobs and destroyed perfectly viable companies through "harvesting" profits. Blame the GOP for refusing to cooperate with the President and the Dems in Congress and for trashing a man who will prove to be one of our greatest Presidents.
+40 # DongiC 2017-02-06 15:24
This cabinet has tons of money. I don't think they will see reality from the average person's point of view. How sad it all is.
+1 # CL38 2017-02-07 18:40
How infuriating it all is.
-1 # Blackjack 2017-02-06 16:00
Dems still don't get it! They think they can just keep on doing what they do best (waiting for Repukes to screw up bad enough that people will rebuke that party and vote for Dems instead). Not one iota of positive action after the drubbing they just got. Spines still are missing. If they keep this up they will be in even further decline in 2018, to the point of being irrelevant. Hardest heads I've ever seen!

But what a line-up we have now in the White House. Dems seem not to realize how sickening they all are to the rest of us.
0 # Femihumanist 2017-02-06 16:21
My guess: If I estimated my "net worth", I'd add whatever money my husband and I jointly have in IRAs, our grandkids' 529 accounts, equity in our house based on its current value, and everything else we have besides the investments (all mutual funds).

I'm guessing, the estimates above are for one person (not jointly with spouse), and not including one or more of the above-listed factors. I've known people far wealthier than we are (and we're definitely not poor) to underestimate their assets in that way.
0 # WBoardman 2017-02-07 13:20
Femihumanist is exactly right,
"est. net worth" is just that, an estimate,
based on minimum credible information.

Even Congressional disclosure are stunningly imprecise.

I did the best I could to provide credible, if not precise,
estimates for net worth but I would welcome any
more precise figures (even for the possibility that
some may have OVER-STATED their wealth...) ;-)))
0 # margpark 2017-02-06 17:09
Trump and his flunkies are complaining bitterly that this line up has not been immediately approved by congress. Meanwhile citizens at large are pleading with their senators to refuse most of them by phone, mail and internet.
0 # Bruce Gruber 2017-02-06 19:02
The loony narcissist is trying to direct a Pandora's Box of fat cats up in the sky boxes with a drum major's baton and a disappearing ink cue card. What could go wrong when trading insults and commanding threats are exchanged between and among both allies and enemies?
+1 # Robbee 2017-02-06 22:06
On Sunday's State of the Nation, CNN's Jake Tapper showed Sen. Bernie Sanders a clip of President Trump sitting next to top Wall Street executives on Friday and saying he expects to be "cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank, because frankly I have so many people, friends of mine, that have nice businesses, they can't borrow money." Sanders, who favors stricter regulation of Wall Street, grimaced.

"It is hard not to laugh to see President Trump alongside these Wall Street guys," Sanders said. "I have to say this, Jake — I don't mean to be disrespectful — this guy is a fraud. This guy ran for president of the United States saying, 'I, Donald Trump, I'm going to take on Wall Street — these guys are getting away with murder.' Then suddenly, he appoints all these billionaires," and moves to cut consumer protections. Trump also swore he would protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, then appointed people who will cut those programs, Sanders said.
Tapper said Sanders had warned during the campaign that Trump would pull this switcheroo, but a lot of his supporters apparently believed Trump was sincere and voted for him over Hillary Clinton, who Sanders had accused of too-close ties to Wall Street. Sanders didn't address the point directly, instead pointing to the gulf between Trump's promises and how Sanders believes he will govern. If Trump had said his real plans and people still voted him in, "that's fine, that's democracy," Sanders said.
+4 # Robbee 2017-02-06 22:08
"But you have a president who, I think in a totally fraudulent campaign, said that 'I'm going to stand up for the working people.' Look at his Cabinet — we've never had more billionaires in a Cabinet in the history of this country — look at his appointees. These are people who are going to go after ... working families, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor. That is called hypocrisy.
I think he is going to sell out the middle class and the working class of this country."
+3 # Skeeziks 2017-02-07 09:50
I would never support Trump and Co.

But I do have reservations showing his wife and ten year old son as a part of Trump's wrecking crew.
+1 # ericlane 2017-02-09 13:50
Wow, Trump really knows how to drain the swamp, doesn't he? Someone should have told him it's hard to drain the swamp when you are the swamp.

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