While he was still running for office, President Trump repeatedly made it clear that he’d be hiring the best talent possible to fill his administration’s positions and that he wasn’t limited, as he claimed other Republicans were, because of the nature of his self-funded campaign. His self-proclaimed management skills were a key theme among the voters that propelled him into the presidency, and the expectation was that Trump, when in office, would surround himself with a top-tier administration of the best and brightest.
What’s materialized instead is perhaps the most woefully inexperienced administration in American history. It’s so filled with dysfunction that, within a month of taking office, Trump’s national security adviser already resigned due to an irreparable breach of protocol with Russian officials before he formally entered his position. So many of Trump’s administrative picks are unqualified to serve in their given positions that it should shake the foundations of anybody’s view of Trump as a successful manager.
Let’s start with Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for the Secretary of Education, who was so controversial that she was confirmed with the least number of votes in United States history for that position. Trump had promised not to put big donors into high-level positions, yet DeVos is the quintessential Republican mega-donor — she’s openly admitted that she and her family have donated up to $200 million to the Republican party over the years. But the really striking part is this: the woman that’s just been confirmed to head our public school system has never attended public school, has never sent her children to public school, has never taught or worked in a school, and, when asked if guns should be allowed near schools, she so awkwardly avoided the question that she mumbled something about stopping grizzly bear attacks instead.
Then there’s Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. He’s not a scientist — or even anybody with a background on the environment at all — but is instead a former Oklahoma Attorney General that has spent the last few decades suing the organization he’s now heading. At a time when the climatology community is in near-unanimous agreement that climate change is real and caused by human activity, Scott Pruitt has refused to acknowledge its existence and has instead promised to scale back the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to make way for fossil fuel companies.
Lastly, Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, was the head of Breitbart, a website that publishes white-supremacist material on a regular basis and makes racism and xenophobia a cornerstone of its writings. Within weeks of joining the administration, Bannon (to the irk of Trump) forced his way on the National Security Council, which is a role usually reserved for generals and which Bannon has no foreign policy experience that would qualify him for it. His attempts to consolidate power within Trump’s administration have already stoked rumors that he’s the man running the show instead of the president, leading to some utterances of the term “President Bannon.” His penchant for promoting white supremacist propaganda should have disqualified him from the outset, but Trump brought him in anyway.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. What Trump promised to be an efficient, top-talent administration has already devolved into turmoil with the firing of Michael Flynn and the media storm surrounding his controversial picks for positions like Secretary of Education and the head of the EPA. If any Trump voters are disappointed at what’s happened so far, they should be — Trump’s administration is shaping up to be the least qualified of any in modern history.