The Ethical Take: Some of the President’s Men

Published: November 24, 2017

By Jim Lichtman
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The E.T. is looking at the few, the ignorant, and the humbly-challenged of Trump’s “best people” from his administration.

Mick Mulvaney – currently head of the Office of Management and Budget, will temporarily do double-duty as interim director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since the departure of Richard Cordray who served as the bureau’s first director.

Remember the banking excesses of 2007-2008 that brought the country to its knees with the collapse of subprime mortgages, and required immediate cash injections from the Federal Reserve to forestall a complete collapse? After the financial crisis, Congress established the CFPB as part of the Dodd-Frank Act.

According to, “The bureau performs the following functions:

  1. Enforce federal anti-discrimination laws with respect to consumer finance
  2. Make rules, supervise, and enforce federal consumer financial protection laws
  3. Alert consumers to possible risks in financial markets
  4. Place restrictions on abusive, deceptive or otherwise unfair practices
  5. Conduct research of consumer behavior
  6. Investigate consumer complaints
  7. Educate consumers about finance

Why does Mulvaney’s appointment matter?

As a Republican Congressman, Mulvaney told a House committee, “I don’t like the fact that CFPB exists.”

Who contributed to Mulvaney’s campaign when he ran for Congress? reveals that many of Mulvaney’s contributors were securities and investment companies, insurance companies, commercial banks and finance/credit companies.

“Leaving the CFPB in the hands of a man who would like to do away with it obviously bodes poorly for the bureau’s future,” Slate writes (Nov. 16).

The Ethical Take: If he succeeds, good luck consumers in holding banks and financial institutions accountable in the future.

Tom Price – served as secretary of Health and Human Services for all of seven months before resigning after his tax-payer funded jet abuses.

Even Trump said that he “didn’t like the optics” and was planning on making a decision.

Price was gone by the end of the day.

Ethical Take: Shortest term on record as Health and Hubris secretary.

Scott Pruitt – within months of his appointment to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Pruitt announced “the war against coal is over. I’ll be a signing a proposed rule to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan of the past administration, and thus begin the effort to withdraw that rule.”

Pruitt “does not offer a replacement plan for regulating emissions of carbon dioxide, which the Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA is obligated to do. Rather, the agency said it plans to seek public input on how best to cut emissions from natural-gas and coal-fired power plants,” The Washington Post reports (Oct. 9). “…the Clean Power Plan aims to slash the greenhouse-gas emissions that scientists agree are fueling the planet’s rapid warming.”

Trump tweeted (Nov. 5, 2012): “We can’t destroy the competitiveness of our factories in order to prepare for nonexistent global warming. China is thrilled with us!”

Yes they are, Mr. President, but not for the reason you think!

Former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said, “The Supreme Court has concluded multiple times that EPA is obligated by law to move forward with action to regulate greenhouse gases, but this administration has no intention of following the law.”

The Clean Power Plan “was an integral part of the commitment U.S. officials made as part of a historic international climate accord signed in late 2015 in Paris, from which Trump has said he intends to withdraw. With Syria signing on to the Paris Accord, the U.S. is now the only country to withdraw its support.

Oh, and the EPA’s inspector general is also investigating Pruitt’s use of military and private jet travel.

E.T.: America First; environment and health last.

Brett Talley – without a doubt, the most unqualified individual proposed by Trump – or any administration – for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge is a 36-year-old lawyer who has practiced law for only three years and has, as of this writing, never tried a case.

And if that isn’t enough, Talley did not immediately disclose that his wife, Annie Donaldson is one of Trump’s own attorneys. How do you spell conflict of interest?

The New York Times writes (Nov. 11), that Talley “is the fourth judicial nominee under President Trump to receive a ‘not qualified’ rating from the bar association and the second to receive the rating unanimously. Since 1989, the association has unanimously rated only two other judicial nominees as not qualified.”

Ethical Take: Do I even need to state the obvious?!

Ryan Zinke – appointed Secretary of the Interior. Zinke’s mandate by Trump has been to re-examine all national monument designations made over the last 30 years.

“Zinke,” The Atlantic reports (Sept. 24), “recommended changes to 10 national monuments, including Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante and Nevada’s Gold Butte. His proposals range from lifting restrictions on activities like commercial fishing to shrinking the parameters of at least four of the sites. …

“Only three presidents since Roosevelt—Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush—opted not to designate any during their terms. Never before, though, has a president attempted to scale down monuments to the extent that Zinke proposes. …

“…Trump called former President Barack Obama’s designation of Bears Ears National Monument, an area of more than 1.3 million acres in Utah, an ‘egregious abuse of power.’ ”

Preserving our national monuments is now, an “egregious abuse of power”!?

“In his assessment,” The Atlantic adds, “Zinke proposed shrinking Bears Ears from 1.35 million acres to roughly 160,000, saying changes would ‘provide a much-needed change for the local communities who border and rely on these lands.’ Still, environmental groups have to fight Trump in court if he follows through on the recommendations.

Ethical Take: Goodbye Teddy “Carry a Big Stick” Roosevelt; Hello Ryan “Carry a Big Ax” Zinke.

And Trump’s “best” also includes a growing list of resignees:

Steve Bannon, OUT as White House strategist and flame-thrower-in-chief.

Sebastian Gorka, OUT as deputy assistant to the president.

Anthony Scaramucci, OUT as communications director. At just 6 days, Scaramucci (currently) holds the record of being the shortest-tenured communications official… ever!

Reince Priebus, OUT as W.H. chief of staff, (ostensibly orchestrated by Scaramucci).

Sean Spicer, OUT, (but he actually did resign) after learning of Scaramucci’s appointment.

Mike Dubke, OUT as communications director (before the “Mooch”).

Mike Flynn, OUT as National security advisor, and under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Muller. Flynn was fired after Trump learned that he lied to Vice-President Mike Pence about his contact with Russian officials.

Ethical Take — Good News: Trump’s draining the swamp! Better News: You’re off to a great start, Donald, keep going!


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