Trump Terrible 10: Arpaio Impunity Edition
Since mid-2017, Republic Report‘s “Trump Terrible 10” has counted down the week’s 10 most disgraceful figures in the Trump administration.
Republic Report, which focuses on how money corrupts democracy, has met its abusive dream mate with the kleptocratic administration of President Donald J. Trump. Trump and his lieutenants personify how money and greed, mixed with disrespect for constitutional values, know-nothing ignorance, serious bigotry, and an endless capacity for lying, can really, really corrupt democracy.
Permanent spoiler alert: We can’t imagine anyone other than Donald J. Trump ever occupying the top spot in the rankings. But we won’t get tired of him winning. That I can tell you. That I can tell you.
10. Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior. Last week’s ranking: —
While Zinke’s Navy veteran daughter was boldly attacking Trump as “a disgrace” (!) for the military transgender ban, the Secretary was busy proposing to the White House that several national monuments be dramatically shrunk and opened for mining and drilling.
9. John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff. Last week’s ranking: —
Yes, he likely accepted the job out of patriotism. And yes, he ridded the White House of roaches Gorka, Bannon, And The Mooch. And maybe he’s made the West Wing paper flow more crisp. But since General Kelly became White House chief of staff a month ago, his boss Trump has made his racist Charlottesville remarks, given his unhinged Phoenix speech, issued his lawless Arpaio pardon during a Category 4 hurricane, advanced his bigoted armed forces transgender ban, and attacked multiple GOP Senators. Kelly reportedly is not even trying to restrain Trump. But Trump is the problem.
8. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary. Last week’s ranking: —
At her first press briefing in a while, Sarah Sanders shrugged about Trump’s false, incendiary General Pershing mass killing story, then dismissed as “a ridiculous and outrageous claim and doesn’t dignify a response from this podium” the relatively measured statement to a reporter by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker that Trump “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.” The same Corker statement then did dignify an attack tweet from President Trump.
7. Gary Cohn, Director of the National Economic Council. Last week’s ranking: 2
Following Trump’s praise, as Cohn stood by his side, of participants in the Charlottesville white supremacy Nazi Klan march as “very fine people,” Cohn was so principled and brave he reportedly drafted a resignation letter. There was, it seems, no need to send it.
6. Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education. Last week’s ranking: 9
As part of her efforts to give taxpayer dollars to for-profit colleges no matter how badly they lie and hurt people, DeVos’s Education Department gave the predatory for-profit Charlotte School of Law, banned from federal aid by the Obama Administration, a chance for reinstatement after the school hired as its lobbyist the Podesta Group’s Lauren Maddox, who had advised DeVos during her confirmation hearing. The State of North Carolina finally shut down the school. Forced by law to offer a path to federal loan cancellation for students whose financial futures had been ruined by the school’s predatory practices, DeVos’s Department offered the least generous approach possible.
5. Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Last week’s ranking: 7
In the midst of its active efforts to encourage corporations to destroy the environment and the climate, Pruitt’s EPA announced it will stop sponsoring an awards program honoring voluntary efforts by businesses to reduce global warming. An EPA spokesman said, “It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that we don’t plan to fund an awards ceremony on climate change.” It isn’t a surprise, because Pruitt is a disgraceful climate denier in the back pocket of the fossil fuel industries.
4. Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States. Last week’s ranking: 6
Those adoring gazes at Trump, those pained dismissals as “nonsense” of undisputed facts about Trump. Disgraceful. Also, won’t you please be our president?
2 & 3. Ivanka Trump, Assistant to the President, and Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President. Last week’s ranking: 4 & 5.
Jews related to Donald Trump, and still working in the White House for Donald Trump. Donald Trump, you’ll recall, praised participants in the Charlottesville white supremacy Nazi Klan march as “very fine people.” It also remains the case that the pair are unqualified for their jobs, that the federal anti-nepotism law should bar their employment, and that their refusals to divest from their businesses raise serious ethics concerns.
1. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. Last week’s ranking: duh
In one of the most disgraceful acts of the most disgraceful presidency in U.S. history, Trump pardoned ex-Phoenix sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt for defying a federal court order to stop violating the Constitution by racially profiling Latinos and detaining them based solely on suspicion regarding their immigration status. Trump issued the pardon prior to Arpaio’s sentencing, without a formal Justice Department review, and without Arpaio expressing any regret whatsoever for his conduct. The pardon came late on a Friday afternoon, in the midst of a massive deadly hurricane attacking the Gulf Coast, with a tweet and a White House statement that did not forgive Arpaio’s racist abuses of power but rather celebrated them.
Worse, the pardon, which Trump shamelessly teased at his disgraceful, unhinged, falsehood-filled, self-pitying campaign speech Tuesday in Phoenix, threatens an era of unbounded impunity, with pardons for Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, various Trumps, cronies, Russian mobsters, and himself. It sends a message to targets of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe that they may not need to cooperate after all, because a president with no shame and no limits may be ready to pardon them.
Trump also whined and complained about Congress not already providing a billion and half dollars from taxpayers for his border The Wall™, despite the fact that (1) he promised endlessly in the campaign that Mexico would pay for The Wall™; and (2) The Wall™ is the dumbest idea ever, with or without the solar panels.
And Trump moved ahead with his disgraceful bigoted military transgender ban, which blatantly discriminates against patriotic Americans while weakening our national security.
Trump is again number one — the most disgraceful figure in the Trump administration. Trump is not merely a disgrace; he’s a total and complete disgrace.