Senator Schumer’s leadership on many fronts is to be applauded, including, as examples, his outspoken opposition to the unconstitutional and abhorrent Trump/Bannon administration’s Muslim ban, for his careful guidance to local activists on ACA strategy and for seizing the initiative by putting forth a solid, specific infrastructure plan.
His stance up to now on Trump’s cabinet appointees, however, which is to “prioritize eight nominees rather than trying to gum up all the picks at once” is wrong. (Senator Gillibrand has voted against more consistently, including casting the sole vote against Mattis for SoD on principled grounds, but even she voted for Nikki Haley for UN Ambassador.)
Now we need to call for our Senators to show leadership and stand firmly in opposition to every single remaining Trump nominee.
Just yesterday, the Trump/Bannon administration imposed a Muslim ban that the New York Times has rightly called “cowardly and dangerous.” In its powerful condemnation of the ban, the Times, as quoted below, noted of Mattis (confirmed 98-1):
“There may be no one better positioned to force a suspension of this policy than Mr. Trump’s secretary of defense, Jim Mattis. Mr. Mattis was clear-eyed about the dangers of a proposed Muslim ban during the election,” with Mattis saying “that American allies were reasonably wondering if we have lost faith in reason.” Mattis added: “This kind of thing is causing us great damage right now, and it’s sending shock waves through this international system.”
“His (Mattis’) silence now is alarming to all who admire his commitment to American security. Mr. Mattis and other senior government officials who know better cannot lend their names to this travesty. Doing so would do more than tarnish their professional reputations. It would make them complicit in abdicating American values and endangering their fellow citizens.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/28/opinion/donald-trumps-muslim-ban-is-cowardly-and-dangerous.html
Tuesday, Betsy DeVoes comes up for a vote for Secretary of Education. In the New York Times, Gail Collins has called her out for what she is:
“DeVos is stupendously rich, and a longtime crusader for charters, vouchers and using federal funds for religious education. She was once the Michigan Republican state chairwoman, a fact completely unconnected to the $200 million or so her family has donated to the party. She’s used all that clout to make Michigan a model of how not to improve public education.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/27/opinion/the-trump-war-on-public-schools.html
We can be glad to see that Senator Franken has announced that no Democrat will be voting for her, but this should and must be the case for every remaining nominee. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/01/27/sen-franken-no-democrat-will-vote-for-betsy-devos-as-education-secretary-and-were-seeking-republicans-to-oppose-her/?utm_term=.e8d24e358193
(The available information amply demonstrates that not one of these candidates will serve our country well, nor does this administration deserve one iota of Democratic support.)
Ted Lieu, a Los Angeles-area congressman, has it right: “[Trump] and the Republicans have unified control, and they own it. It is Trump’s foreign policy, Trump’s economy, Trump’s health care plan. So he has to govern, and in less than two years voters will go to the polls, and he has to own it.”
James Downie, in his Washington Post Opinion piece, elucidates further why “The case for ‘giving Trump a chance’ is dead.”
“Far from reaching across the aisle or ignoring the GOP establishment, Trump’s presidency so far is a catalogue of campaign promises filtered through a screen of GOP orthodoxy. His Cabinet has a number of Washington “outsiders” — never mind that a number of them are manifestly unqualified for the posts or that several of the so-called “outsiders” are billionaires and big-money donors. His administration is already implementing crackdowns on immigration, muzzling the Environmental Protection Agency on climate change, threatening commitments to the United Nations and unwinding the Affordable Care Act — all red meat for his base and areas where Trump and the GOP establishment agree…”
“[H]e (Trump) still hasn’t released his tax returns, he speaks wistfully of “another chance” to “take” Iraq’s oil, he has already created at least one crisis with a U.S. neighbor and he threatens the very foundation of U.S. democracy with falsehoods about supposed voter fraud…”
“[Yet] All but four members of the Democratic caucus voted to confirm Nikki Haley as U.N. ambassador despite a complete lack of qualifications for the post. Every Democrat on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee voted to send similarly unqualified Ben Carson’s nomination to the full Senate. According to Politico, ‘senators believe they can inoculate themselves from the criticism of obstructionism often leveled at [Sen. Mitch] McConnell during Obama’s presidency.”
“That’s not good enough. History shows us that presidents do, in fact, govern as they campaign, and Trump is doing just that. Add in his tendency to agree with whatever the last person he met with told him, and you have a presidency blending the policies of Mike Pence and Steve Bannon with the temperament and attention span of a toddler banging on his high chair — not the kind of politician that Democrats can or should work with. Everyone knows that Democrats have very little voting power to stop Trump’s mistakes, but that doesn’t mean they have to implicitly smooth the way.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2017/01/26/the-case-for-giving-trump-a-chance-is-dead-too-many-democrats-are-still-holding-back/?utm_term=.67dc7d40dd00
The New York Times has a list of and summary information on all the appointees here. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html
And not only that: “[Sen. Chris] Murphy [D-Conn] said Democrats must now “force a debate” this week on Trump’s orders by slowing the consideration of all of his remaining Cabinet nominees, especially Rex Tillerson, set to serve as the next secretary of state.” Murphy highlights the Mattis confirmation here, which provides a “save face” path for Senators to back off the pick and choose strategy. “We should take every ounce of time that we’re allowed on these nominees, to talk about the disaster that has been the first week of this administration especially when it comes to foreign policy,” he said.
Murphy noted that the Senate quickly confirmed James Mattis, the widely respected former Marine general, to serve as defense secretary, “because he assured us that he was going to argue against the very ban he watched Trump sign. Many of us gave the president and his Cabinet a little benefit of the doubt last week. I don’t see that there’s any reason that that should continue.” And further Murphy stated, “Almost every single one of these nominees try to prop up their nomination by contradicting Trump in their confirmation hearing. It’s pretty clear now that Donald Trump and Steve Bannon are running this administration and the nominees that have been confirmed thus far have been marginalized,” Murphy added. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/01/29/senate-democrats-vow-legislation-to-block-trumps-travel-ban/
Sample Call Script
Hello, I am [your name], a constituent from [your town/county/zip]. I’m calling to urge Senator [Schumer/Gillibrand], in the strongest possible terms, to vote no on all Trump cabinet nominees who have not yet been confirmed. In his first days in office, Trump has amply demonstrated that he will govern as he campaigned. He is not someone Democrats should accommodate in any way. The time for giving this administration a chance is over, if indeed it ever began.
[optional]: In addition, not one of these candidates is minimally acceptable. Their ranks include the unqualified, billionaires, and big-money donors. There is no reason to believe they have been chosen to or will represent the interests of our country. Picking and choosing among them is therefore inappropriate and makes no sense.]
I implore the Senator, as my elected representative, to vote against every remaining nominee, and to encourage all of his/her Senate colleagues to do so as well.
@SenSchumer @SenGillibrand & all @SenateDems: publicly oppose ALL Trump nominees #nomorechances #RepublicanShame