And don’t much care about the average American they swore to protect….
And Trump’s party members, knowing what’s going on, have no ‘balls’ to try make things right….
A defense contractor running the Department of Defense. A self-styled tycoon who allegedly stole $120 million from his business partners. A coal lobbyist regulating coal. A senior Commerce Department official who once lobbied for whale hunters. Ivanka.
Donald Trump’s improbable ascension to the American presidency was a Bat Signal to some of the most accomplished grifters and scoundrels this fine country has to offer. They jumped on the nearest airplane—preferably private, and paid for by someone else—and jetted off to Washington, D.C., to carve out their piece of the action. The United States and its territories have always been home to some of history’s great scammers, fraudsters, confidence men, and snake-oil salesmen. It is a relentless feature of the national character in a country built by people trying to make a buck, however they could, on the ragged edge of civilization. It’s just the very greasiest operators don’t often pry their way into the Cabinet of the United States president. More rarely, still, do they capture it—and the Executive Branch of government.
“This is the Teapot Dome scandal on steroids,” Douglas Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University and a CNN contributor, told me. He’s referring to the orgy of bribery and crony capitalism that devoured the presidency of Warren G. Harding in the 1920s. Harding’s crew, known as the Ohio Gang, featured oil-industry insiders who proceeded to operate in public office on behalf of their old friends in the business. For Brinkley, the 45th president has a similar recruiting strategy.
“Donald Trump understands people that are greedy,” he said. “When he’s dealing with the public lands and the environment, he wants people that are into making cash out of resources, not preservation. He doesn’t trust preservation. It’s because they have ethics. He trusts people who see that there’s gold in them there hills.”
And it seems he’s found them. As we embark on a third year of The Trump Era, a new group has filtered in to populate the most senior levels of his government. The Class of 2019 is different in kind to the right-wing oddballs and ravenous feeders at the public trough that went barreling into the administration in January 2017. Often, those characters flamed out early, and now they’ve been replaced.
The folks taking their place are The Operators, the Beltway veterans with deep ties to the industries they are now tasked with regulating. They have been in government, then out of it, and now they’re back in. They know what the people who write the big checks want, and they know how to make it happen. They also know the rules you just can’t break, and have the patience and discipline to mostly stay out of the headlines until it’s time to eat. Many key departments of the Executive Branch are now run by cutouts of the industries they’re tasked with regulating, and have set out to redraw the rules to suit the interests of their former—and likely future—employers. In effect, they are tasked with destroying these departments…