As President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet begins to fully take shape, so too will the Left’s smear campaign against his appointments.
If the general election and early transition period are any indication, the country can expect Democrats and their liberal allies to wage a full-blown propaganda war against Trump’s cabinet picks, saying anything they can to force the new administration to expend political capital or even sink some of the confirmations.
“You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil … it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”
Of course, equally as predictable as the defamation campaign itself are the specific smears Trump’s enemies will undoubtedly use to tarnish those who would serve under him.
Sen. Jeff Sessions
Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general, has extensive experience both as a U.S. attorney and attorney general for the state of Alabama, but none of that ample experience will matter to Democrats who will insist that Sessions is little more than a white-robed racist.
Sessions was subjected to the same smear campaign when he was nominated for a federal judgeship in the 1980s — unfortunately it worked. “Jeff Sessions Was Deemed Too Racist To Be A Federal Judge. He’ll Now Be Trump’s Attorney General,” claimed a Huffington Post headline shortly after Trump’s pick of Sessions went public.
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Indeed, Democrats and civil rights groups are already rushing to condemn Sessions. Trump’s selection of Sessions is “deeply troubling,” claimed the NAACP. The organization asserted Sessions reflects “an old, ugly history where civil rights were not regarded as core American values.”
Sessions “will set back law enforcement, civil rights, the courts, and increase America’s mass incarceration industry and erase 50 years of progress,” asserted Rep. Luis Gutiérrez.
It won’t bother any of these liberals that Sessions ties to racism have long since been debunked. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, who voted against Sessions’ confirmation for the judgeship, later called the vote a mistake.
The Trump transition also laid out some of Sessions’ record that obliterates the false narrative of him as potentially racist.
“When Sen. Sessions was U.S. attorney, he filed a number of desegregation lawsuits in Alabama and he also voted in favor of the 30-year extension of the Civil Rights Act,” Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller told reporters on a conference call. “He also voted to confirm Attorney General Eric Holder, and even spearheaded efforts toward awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Rosa Parks.”
Betsy DeVos is Trump’s pick for secretary of education — and she terrifies the Left. A fierce critic of the public school system, DeVos chairs the Alliance for School Choice, the largest pro-school choice organization in the country, and its affiliate the American Federation for Children.
As if her staunch support for school choice and charter schools weren’t bad enough for Democrats and their allies, she is also a billionaire, an evangelical Christian, and the sister of Erik Prince, founder of the military contracting company Blackwater USA — all things for which the Left will undoubtedly attack her.
Teacher unions, ever fearful of the accountability school choice would thrust upon poorly run districts, will most of all want to smear DeVos.
“I can’t imagine a worse pick,” said David Hecker, president of the Michigan chapter of the American Federation of Teachers — a teacher union. “I think the person selected should be pro-education, but she wants to dismantle public education. She has had some success in Michigan, not because she has any expertise, but because she is rich.”
Rep. Mike Pompeo
Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo was tapped by Trump to be director of the CIA. He will likely be attacked by Democrats for three main reasons.
The first is his previous vocal support for enhanced interrogation techniques. “The information we learned from the enhanced interrogation program was important, and led directly to the capture of Osama bin Laden,” he told Hugh Hewitt in 2014.
The second fact about Pompeo sure to be dragged up by liberals seeking to smear him are his ties to the Koch brothers. He has received over $40,000 in donations from the Koch Industries political action committee. The Koch empire is based in Kansas.
Finally, Pompeo has been a loud voice in asserting the danger of radical Islam. “When the most devastating terrorist attacks on America in the last 20 years come overwhelmingly from people of a single faith, and are performed in the name of that faith, a special obligation falls on those that are the leaders of that faith,” Pompeo said in 2013.
“Instead of responding, silence has made these Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit in these acts, and more importantly still, in those that may well follow.”
Because of this, “it’s not a stretch to imagine that under Pompeo, the nation’s top spy agency would dedicate even more resources to monitoring foreign mosques and Muslim communities,” according to The Huffington Post.
Gov. Nikki Haley
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is arguably the one Trump pick that will generate the least amount of resistance from the Left. Haley is widely respected by Democrats following her response to the 2015 Charleston church shooting.
However, if there is one area in which Haley is sure to draw criticism from liberals it is her opposition to immigration, both legal and illegal.
Haley has been a vocal opponent of Obama’s Syrian resettlement plans, and requested that no Syrian refugees be resettled in South Carolina. Liberals will no doubt claim she is Islamophobic. She also has very limited foreign policy and diplomatic experience, something for which she will also face outsized criticism from a hostile media.
Gen. James Mattis
General “Mad Dog” Mattis is likely to be Trump’s pick for secretary of defense. Mattis will probably face attacks similar to those which will likely be launched against Pompeo. Mattis was and is a fierce critic of Obama’s Iran strategy, a position which cost him his position as commander of U.S. Central Command.
Mattis also has a history of making provocative statements. “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them,” he said in 2005.
Most dangerous for Mattis, however, is likely a point of procedure more than a specific attack line. In order to become secretary of defense, Mattis, who retired from the Marine Corps in 2013, will need a special waiver from Congress in order to head the Pentagon — federal law mandates any Pentagon chief be at least seven years removed from active military service.
The Democrats are not likely to help Republicans rush through the waiver without a fight.
Dr. Ben Carson
On Nov. 22, Trump tweeted that he was “seriously considering Dr. Ben Carson as the head of [Housing and Urban Development].”
Carson will be attacked by liberals for being inexperienced — a charge from which it will be difficult for Carson to defend himself. “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience; he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency,” his business manager said only two weeks ago.
But Carson is also an outspoken evangelical Christian, a fact for which he will also be attacked. Indeed, during his campaign he was criticized as a creationist and homophobe, so it is highly likely these lines of attack will once again be employed.