An EPA enemy to head up EPA is right out of the GOP playbook, which has been in place (to varying degrees) since Ronald Reagan’s first term. In 1980, Reagan appointed James Watt as his Secretary of the Interior, and Watt proceeded to eliminate dozens of environmental regulations and open up the offshore continental shelf to oil drilling. He was combative and insensitive with a sense of humor that Donald Trump might enjoy. One joke that landed Watt in hot water featured “a black, a woman, two Jews, and a cripple.” I can’t remember whether or not they were entering a bar.
The GOP doesn’t want you to look to the government for anything good. Not your health, your security in old age, public schools, affordable housing, safety in the workplace, a decent wage, parks and lakes and oceans that are clean and beautiful or at least not so poisoned that you are afraid to dip a toe in.
Increasingly, if the GOP sees a chance to make a buck by privatizing (even in areas where they had been loathe in past to tread, such as prisons and war), they have gone for it in a big way. The private prison thing paid off tremendously. Not only has it made a handful of prison privateers incredibly wealthy, it has also helped keep the streets clear of black people, brown people, and unruly youth. The War on Drugs isn’t the only reason that the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prison population. The other other reason is prisons for profit, which provide an incentive (as opposed to the disincentive of public financing by taxes) to put people away instead of search for alternatives that serve society better. The reason why so many of the prisoners in those places are black or brown is racism.
You can blame Donald Trump for Rex Tillerson at State, Wilbur Clark at Commerce, and Michael Flynn at NSA, who were all appointed for their Russian connections. Jeff Sessions at AG is a campaign reward for Good Ole Jeff bein’ the first Senator to get behind Trump. Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao at Transportation is a political (and financial move) by Trump. Mitch’s wife will be in a perfect position to effect policy and facilitate bribes that both men hope will flow with any infrastructure or other large public works projects. And flow both ways. Ching ching!
The rest of Trump’s appointments (including probably Betsy Devos) were likely suggested by Pence or the GOP leadership as their usual business as usual: Appoint someone who is actively opposed to the department’s agenda or who will destroy it by neglect. Someone like DeVos kills two birds with one stone (she is a GOP megadonor and has spent her life trying to replace public education with private relgious schools supported by tax dollars). Her brother is Eric Prince, disgraced founder of Blackwater, so maybe she kills three stones. Just in case a private army would come in handy to Trump’s little coterie of fascist dreamers.
Read the book I always recommend on this subject – The Wrecking Crew by Thomas Frank (2008) – to learn more about the GOP’s destroy-government agenda, which is now entering its 36th illustrious year.
Blame Donald Trump for being an ignorant, incompetent, treasonous. raccoon-handed assclown with his head up Putin’s butt. Blame him for cronies like Flynn and Tillerson and Sessions and anything that comes from Bannon or the other sad Steve.
For the rest of it, blame the GOP. They’re doing the same stuff they’ve done since that day in 1980 when affable Ronnie Reagan appointed obnoxious James G. Watt to piss on Interior. That day when Presidents stopped trying to pick capable people to head up departments with altruistic and socially-agreed-upon agendas and replaced them with The Wrecking Crew.
So that our governments would fail. And their rich corporate friends make a few more bucks.