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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 25, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 48
The Trump cabinet: It keeps getting worse
Section One
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The Trump cabinet: It keeps getting worse

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Donald Trump's cabinet keeps getting worse.

Two weeks ago BuzzFeed published a leaked memo listing possible nominees, all of them old-time Republican retreads. Since then, prospects for the new administration have become even gloomier.

Trump has already settled on veteran racist and homophobe Jeff Sessions for the attorney general spot. Sessions has earned a 0 rating from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), meaning he's about as homophobic as you can get.

His anti-LGBT record goes back to the mid-1990s, when he was Alabama's attorney general. In that post, he wrote an opinion stating that Alabama would suffer 'irreparable harm' if state universities funded gay-straight alliances.

'[A]n organization that professes to be comprised of homosexuals and/or lesbians may not receive state funding or use state-supported facilities to foster or promote those illegal, sexually deviate activities defined in the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws,' he wrote at the time.

A US District Court later ruled that Sessions' opinion was in violation of the First Amendment in Gay Lesbian Bisexual Alliance v. Sessions (1996).

As a US senator, Sessions voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, and against the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). He has also criticized Obama administration orders protecting LGBT employees and students from discrimination.



Sessions was nominated for the federal bench by Ronald Reagan in 1986, but he was rejected by the Senate when his previous record of racist remarks came to light, among them referring to an African-American US attorney as 'boy' and noting, 'I thought the Klan was OK till I found out they smoke pot.'

Sessions is not the only problematic figure being considered for the Trump administration, however.

On November 23 Trump said he will nominate Amway heiress Betsy DeVos to be his Secretary of Education.

In addition to being a supporter of charter schools and federal funding of religious schools, DeVos has been a major donor to anti-LGBT organizations. She and her husband Dick donated $200,000 to the 2004 campaign to pass an amendment to the Michigan constitution limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

In 2009, the DeVos family foundation donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), sparking a national boycott of Amway products.

And there's even worse to come.

Jerry Falwell, Jr., heir to his father as president of Liberty University, confirmed that he visited with Trump in New York City on November 18. Falwell told local media that he and Trump met at Trump Tower to discuss Falwell's future role in the US Department of Education.

He did not confirm or deny whether he was being vetted as Secretary of Education but said he will 'definitely play a role' in the administration. Falwell is a member of Trump's Evangelical Executive Advisory Board.

On the list for Secretary of Human and Health Services is Tom Price, a doctor and congressman from Georgia who is another 0 on the HRC rating scale. He has voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), against DADT repeal, and for the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Laws that 'promote some homosexual-agenda item&should take into account the tremendous medical health impact and economic impact that promoting such a lifestyle will result in,' Price wrote.

Ben Carson has also been mentioned for a cabinet post, as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development or Surgeon General.

Carson staffers discouraged speculation that he would join the Trump administration, however. Spokesperson Armstrong Williams told The Hill newspaper that '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.'

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