September 20, 2017

Trump Terrible 10: Rocket Man Golf Strike BLT Steak Edition

Trump Terrible 10: Rocket Man Golf Strike BLT Steak Edition

Since mid-2017, Republic Report‘s “Trump Terrible 10” has ranked 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. Believe me.

10. Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior. Last week’s ranking —

Zinke amused himself yesterday by installing in the Interior Department cafeteria a video game called Big Buck Hunter, which involves firing plastic shotguns at computer-generated animals, and he tweeted, “Get excited for season!” But Zinke seems just as excited to recommend, in a memo to Trump, that the U.S. shrink some revered national lands to allow more coal mining, logging, and other commercial activities.

9. Tom Barrack, presidential friend. Last week’s ranking —

Slavish Trump admirer and slumlord Barrack served as chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, whose financing celebrated the return of blatant corporate corruption of Washington. The committee raised an unprecedented $107 million and promised to donate excess funds to charity. As the AP documented this week, eight months later, not a dime has been delivered to any charitable cause.  Barrack “said the inauguration was a great success but declined to answer detailed questions from AP about how money was spent.” In this sense, the inauguration at least captured the true spirit of the man inaugurated.

7 & 8. Ty Cobb, Special Counsel to the President, and John Dowd, outside counsel to the PresidentLast week’s ranking —

Republic Report has previously tried to help readers distinguish between the various Trump Russiagate lawyers: New York mouthpiece Marc Kasowitz, who came “under scrutiny … for firing off profanity-laden emails to a stranger”; D.C. corporate criminal lawyer Ty Cobb, who this month came under scrutiny for firing off profanity-laden emails to a stranger; wealthy religion stalwart Jay Sekulow, who emphatically asserted one weekend on TV that Trump both was and was not under investigation; and other D.C. corporate criminal lawyer John Dowd, who forwarded to a long list of people an email from a right-wing conspiracy theorist defending Robert E. Lee and the confederacy.

Now Cobb and Dowd have distinguished themselves further: Added to the team because they were supposedly more grown up and wiser in the ways of Washington than the bull-in-a-china-shop Kasowitz, the two lunched out on the street at a D.C. restaurant and indiscreetly, recklessly, and unethically discussed details of the Trump legal team response to the Mueller probe. Apparently, Cobb talked louder, or at least that’s what the New York Times correspondent seated at the next table reported, when he wasn’t snapping a picture of the hungry duo. Among the details that Times reporter Ken Vogel heard yelled: White House Counsel Donald McGahn had a couple of key documents “locked in a safe.”

Whatever skills these lawyers had displayed before, it seems clear that all of them, now Trump lawyers, are buffoons.

5 & 6. Ivanka Trump, Assistant to the President, and Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President. Last week’s ranking: 5

Remember that time in March when Democratic power lawyer Jamie Gorelick rationalized her decision to represent the Kushner-Trumps by explaining that fellow Clinton administration veteran Joel Klein told her “that Jared was a good person, and that he thought he would be a good influence on the administration”?  That was awesome.

4. Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education. Last week’s ranking: 4

DeVos’s embrace of predatory for-profit colleges is breathtaking; pressed by Trump crony Newt Gingrich, DeVos is rapidly destroying all the reforms made by the Obama administration to protect students and taxpayers against college ripoffs that prey on veterans, single moms, and others striving to build a better future. Most recently, DeVos has reportedly approved the troubling acquisitions of predatory for-profits EDMC, by a non-profit charity that has never run a college, and Kaplan, by Purdue University, a public institution owned by the taxpayers of Indiana.

3. Tom Price, Secretary of Human Services. Last week’s ranking —

The winner of this week’s Steven T. Mnuchin Award for most inappropriate use of taxpayer money for air travel, Price last week chartered private jets on five separate business trips, charging tens of thousands more than the cost of flying commercial, and sources told Politico that Price has been taking such private flights for months. While pushing yet another effort to take away Obamacare and pursuing other cuts in government spending, the entitled surgeon has apparently decided he deserves premium travel arrangements. He doesn’t.

2. Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Last week’s ranking: 2

The deadly wrecks of Harvey, Irma, and Maria are what climate change looks like. Yet Scott Pruitt, bound to his polluting patrons, has done nothing but cancel government efforts to fight climate change, and he has spent these stormy weeks making media appearances where he has claimed that discussing climate change now is “very, very insensitive” to victims, attacked his predecessors in the job and other climate advocates, and claimed that he is the true environmentalist. Pruitt also has invoked phony national security concerns to justify hiding chemical plant dangers from local communities, and announced a new “red team, blue team” exercise to question the already firmly established science of climate change.

Now the Washington Post has reported that Pruitt aides have demanded around-the-clock security for their grandiose and politically ambitious boss, requiring three times the security personnel of his predecessors at the EPA, and forcing the reassignment of agents who are supposed to be investigating environmental crimes.

1. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. Last week’s ranking: duh

A video where you fire a golf ball at your opponent’s car is funny. A video where you knock your opponent to the ground by hitting her in the back with a golf ball is ugly, especially on top of other videos you’ve forwarded of you doing violence to your enemies, and all your ugly misogynist attacks on women.

It’s idiotic to use one of your trademark cartoon nicknames to label as “Rocket Man” a foreign leader who is threatening other nations with nuclear weapons. It’s even more idiotic to then go to the United Nations and threaten to “totally destroy” that leader’s nation of 25 million people.

It’s disgraceful to brag that you’re a billionaire and then divert hundreds of thousands of dollars that donors gave to your re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee to pay your and your son’s Russiagate legal bills. And disgraceful to keep raking in hotel revenues from political and lobby groups seeking to curry favor with you, as well as from U.S. taxpayers.

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.

Vintage disgracefulness:

Trump Terrible 10: Apocalypse Now Edition

Trump Terrible 10: ESPN European Honeymoon Idiot Edition

This article also appears on HuffPost.