Final Reckoning: The 50 Most Disgraceful People of the Trump Administration
It’s all over but the shouty fact-free violence-inciting tweets, frivolous election lawsuits, sad state legislature / electoral college / Congress bluster, Bill Barr fake investigation, McConnell-McCarthy-GOP complicity, punitive firings, principled resignations, transition obstruction, supplemental super spreader rallies, marginal militia mobilizations, potential efforts to bargain, and likely total humiliation when he finally gives up. So it’s almost over, and it’s time to take stock. As its ugly ending confirms, the Donald Trump presidency has been marked by relentless corruption of our democracy to benefit wealthy special interests — and to soothe Trump’s own greed, vanity, and vindictiveness.
Let’s count down the 50 worst people over this entire train wreck of an administration.
We’re avoiding all the awful outside allies and toadies, from Sean Hannity to Lil Wayne, Jerry Falwell Jr. to James O’Keefe, the late Bob Murray to Vladimir Putin to Diamond and Silk. We focus on the people paid by taxpayers (and Trump campaign donors) to destroy the country and the planet. Plus, of course, Rudy Giuliani.
50. Jahan Wilcox, EPA spokesperson.
Answered Atlantic reporter Elaina Plott’s query about the resignation of an EPA staffer — who was tasked by Scott Pruitt with chores like buying him a used mattress from the Trump Hotel — by messaging, “You have a great day, you’re a piece of trash.”
49. Mina Chang, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.
Embellished her resume, and brandished a Trumpian fake TIME magazine cover, to grab a senior job at the State Department before getting exposed and resigning. (See also: Monica Crowley (#83 on this list).)
48. Larry Kudlow, Director, National Economic Council.
Unimpressive older man at Connecticut cocktail party. The kind that told you a lot of things about the economy when you were trapped talking with him, but when you got home and looked it up, none of it was true.
47. John McEntee, Director, White House Presidential Personnel Office.
Former Trump body man who couldn’t get a security clearance and was dismissed in 2018 after allegations of gambling debts, somehow brought back to hunt for and remove staffers deemed insufficiently loyal to the president and, after the Biden win, reportedly threatening to fire anyone caught looking for a new job.
46. Rob Porter, White House Staff Secretary.
Country club Republican turned Trump enabler. His ex-wives said he was an abuser at home.
45. William Happer, senior director for emerging technologies, the National Security Council.
Princeton professor who resigned from his White House job reportedly because the Trump administration did not embrace strongly enough his plan to undermine climate science.
44. Mercedes Schlapp, White House Director of Strategic Communications and Trump campaign staffer.
Tweeted that comedian Michelle Wolf’s correspondents dinner monologue was “why America hates the out of touch leftist media elite” while riding (presumably with her influence-peddling lobbyist husband Matt) in a limo to a fancy MSNBC afterparty. White House aide Kelly Sadler (#73) was pushed out of her job, reportedly, NOT for calling John McCain’s views irrelevant because “he’s dying anyway,” but for tattling to Trump that Schlapp leaked to the media. After the George Floyd killing, Schlapp retweeted praise for a Texas man shown in a video wielding a chainsaw and yelling a racial slur (though she later apologized).
43. Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security.
Separated children from parents, put people in cages, and told lies in her vain attempt to suck up to Trump and stay in power.
42. John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff.
Passive-aggressive manager who constantly tried to shift blame away from himself. Faced with the aggrieved widow of La David Johnson, a U.S. Army sergeant slain in Africa, Kelly revealed himself to be an old-time Boston bigot. Knew as well as anyone that Trump was a menace, yet never spoke up publicly to inform voters.
41. Alex Acosta, Secretary of Labor.
Left his job once people realized he was the same guy who, as a federal prosecutor, gave a sweetheart deal to wealthy child molester Jeffrey Epstein.
40. Ronny Jackson, White House physician.
Regular White House doctor turned Trump health propagandist turned Texas MAGA congressman. Told some big fibs along the way.
39. Stephanie Grisham, White House Press Secretary.
No press briefings, just Fox News appearances and mean attacks on anyone who would question the man who gave her a job for which she was clearly unqualified. (Honorable mentions to other shameless spoxes: Tim Murtaugh, Judd Deere, Hogan Gidley, Sean Spicer, Jason Miller (#51).)
38. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President.
Weakly-credentialed, fascist-linked nasty blowhard who had no business working anywhere near government.
37. Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services.
In Congress, the wealthy physician pushed pharma interests while owning pharma stocks. Then, as Trump HHS head, tried to kill Obamacare before being forced to resign over private jet abuse.
36. Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury.
He and the wife obviously got good advice on tamping down their Mr. and Mrs. Moneybags image, but he stood by when Trump praised the Charlottesville White Supremacists, hid Trump’s tax returns, mocked Greta Thunberg as ignorant, and endlessly pushed policies that favor big corporations and banks over working people.
35 and 34. John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence, and Rick Grenell, Acting Director of National Intelligence.
Both men were brought in to politicize intelligence in order to sate Trump’s urges, and they sure did that. Ratcliffe, a vociferous Trump defender in Congress, originally couldn’t get confirmed when it turned out he overstated his experience prosecuting terrorists. Grenell, during the 2020 campaign, claimed Trump “is the most pro-gay president in American history; I can prove it.” After the election, he went to Vegas with Matt Schlapp to raise phony fraud claims; when reporters asked the men to identify themselves, Grenell interrupted that they were “here to take in information.”
33. Jay Sekulow, outside counsel to the President.
Amid a massive collection of shameless Trump lawyers, from Ken Starr to Alan Dershowitz, Pam Bondi to Pat Cipollone, and the chatty John Dowd and Ty Cobb, Sekulow was the go-to guy for taking Trump lies — from Ukraine extortion to election-stealing — and converting them into legal arguments.
32, 31, and 30. Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, and Doug Collins, Members, U.S. House of Representatives.
All have told lies, and yelled really loud, in blindly defending Trump’s corruption.
29. Susan Collins, U.S. Senator.
Supposedly “moderate” Lucy who has pulled away the football from America every time, and delivered it to her President.
28. Devin Nunes, Member, U.S. House of Representatives.
Lied and ran corrupt secret missions for Trump; sued people who made fun of him.
27. Dr. Scott Atlas, Adviser to the President.
Went on Fox News and said the idiotic things Trump wanted a doctor to say about COVID, got a cool White House job, has used it push anti-science policies that have endangered lives.
26. Corey Lewandowski, outside adviser to the President.
Rude Trump henchman who’s made big corporate money peddling influence. (On the subject of money, see also: Brad Parscale, Chris Collins, Duncan Hunter, Elaine Chao, Louis DeJoy (#57).)
25. Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce.
Covered up effort to abuse the Census to aid the GOP, engaged in troubling stock trading, fell asleep in meetings.
24. Mick Mulvaney, Acting White House Chief of Staff.
Let Trump be Trump. You don’t like that someone as morally empty as Mulvaney occupied that chair? Get over it.
23. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary.
Turned the White House press briefing into a torrent of unpleasantness and falsehoods.
22. Jared Kushner, White House Senior Adviser.
Spent the 2020 campaign and transition engaged in shady dealings with Russians. His ethics disclosure forms were an ethics disaster. In office, had way too many jobs; did them poorly. Cozied up to the murderous MBS. After Qatar rebuffed the Kushner family business’s plea for financing, Trump turned on the gulf nation. As soon as COVID renter protections lapsed, Kushner’s business started evictions of low-income tenants from their crumbling Baltimore apartments.
21. Ivanka Trump, White House Senior Adviser.
Reportedly called herself “the First Daughter”; all her grotesqueries, including taking Daddy’s chair at a global meeting, flowed from that. (Honorable mention assorted awful members of grifter family: Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle.)
20. Kellyanne Conway, White House Senior Counselor.
Embodied the transformation of the executive branch and Republican Party into a personality cult, with her sycophantic praise of the Orange Leader. (See also: GOP head Ronna McDaniel (#54) and transphobic, democracy-abusing, lying Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis (#52).)
19. Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff.
Scuttled Hill deals that could have saved lives in a pandemic. Mocked masks in pandemic. Worst Trump enabler of all four Trump chiefs of staff (to match four Trump national security advisers, four Trump White House press secretaries, and five Trump secretaries of defense).
18. Kayleigh McEnany. White House Press Secretary.
Made Sarah Sanders look like Marlin Fitzwater. Made Harvard Law School look like Trump University. Made Rhodes College into the Rhodes scholarship. Moved Philadelphia to Allegheny County. Ignorant and, when not ignorant, a vicious liar.
17 and 16. Paul Manafort, Trump 2016 campaign chairman, and Roger Stone, Trump crony.
Crooks and liars. (See also: Elliott Broidy.)
15. Michael Flynn, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.
Disgraceful during the campaign (“LOCK HER UP”); disgraceful during the transition, when he had improper discussions with the Russians; disgraceful during his three weeks as national security adviser, when he lied to the FBI about those discussions; disgraceful after pleading guilty, as he dragged out the case and sought to withdraw his plea until Bill Barr moved to let him off the hook.
14. Steve Bannon, White House Senior Counselor.
Drove Trump’s ugly “American Carnage” inaugural address and set up his vile White Nationalist agenda. Later indicted for scamming Trump supporters with tacky “Build the Wall” fundraising.
13. Stephen Miller, White House Senior Adviser.
Dead-eyed, clearly damaged youngish man who drove Trump’s reprehensible immigration policies and wrote his repugnant speeches.
12. Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education.
DeVos undermined our public schools and trashed civil rights. She aided and abetted the scam artists who run predatory for-profit colleges, while intimating that college students are the actual scammers; she sneered in a speech that broke, ripped-off former students utilizing a federal law to have their loan debt cancelled were after “free money.” In an October speech at Michigan’s arch-right Hillsdale College, DeVos suggested she has the same kind of contempt for her staff as she has for America’s students, saying, ”I assume most of you have never stepped foot inside the U.S. Department of Education. And I can report, you haven’t missed much.” DeVos’s revolving door, false-statements-to-Congress, anti-student senior aide, Diane Auer Jones, must share billing here. The depth of corruption and mismanagement by Jones has been breathtaking.
11 and 10. David Bernhardt, Secretary of the Interior, and Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency.
Each man succeeded a blatant grifter (see 9 and 8 below), but each is an even more pernicious Washington creature: the skilled, ruthless revolving door careerist, who rises from a congressional errand boy into a cabinet official relentlessly serving the interests of destructive industries.
9 and 8. Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior, and Scott Pruitt, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency.
Each man thought he was a prince, turning his agency into a vanity project, grabbing all possible perqs, banishing dissenters, sucking up to Trump, and planning to succeed him in the Oval Office, all the while trashing the environment and the global climate.
7. Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States.
Sanctimonious moralist who spent four years defending a depraved, crooked boss. Kinda tried to help out with saving people from the coronavirus, but never at the expense of crossing Our Great President.
6. Lindsey Graham, chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee.
Graham needed a Big Cool Friend after John McCain died, so he became a snarling Trump sycophant — brave Kavanaugh accusers, the Constitution, fair elections, and the truth be damned. (Runner-up disgraceful Trump senators: Rand Paul, Tom Cotton, John Cornyn, Ron Johnson, Joni Ernst, Mike Lee, Marsha Blackburn, David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio.)
5. Rudy Giuliani, outside counsel to the President.
Once an anti-corruption prosecutor and America’s Mayor, Rudy became the erratic conductor of an off-the-rails corrupt Trump Train, seeking to start fake probes of the Bidens, pushing phony complaints about cheating in the 2020 election, side-hustling consulting work trading on his Trump ties, and removing his mic for Borat’s daughter. Did you pervert our democracy, Rudy? No. Rudy, did you? Of course I did!
4. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State.
Former Koch errand boy who was supposed to be America’s chief diplomat, but, to advance his dreams of being the next #MAGA president, he sucked up to Trump hard, pursued Trump’s corrupt political goals, punished whistleblowers who exposed Trump’s Ukraine extortion, used State Department resources for his own political networking and personal errands, and fired the State Department inspector general who was investigating him. He acted in public, at congressional hearings and in dealings with the media, as a smirking, nasty, deceitful hatchet man. As a side job, he undermined U.S. security by pursuing an apocalyptic vision of war against Islam.
3. William Barr, Attorney General.
An angry bag of sharp right-wing grievances in the soft body of a rich DC corporate lawyer, Barr corrupted the integrity and indeed the purpose of the Justice Department, turning it into a blunt instrument for Trump’s personal coverups and vendettas and, finally, for Trump’s phony charges of election interference. Came close to overtaking McConnell for #2, but at least he resisted Trump’s entreaties to announce fake investigations of Biden, Comey, and others before the election. (Also of concern: Matt Whitaker (#74), Jeff Sessions (#68), Rod Rosenstein (#67).)
2. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader.
McConnell ruthlessly swept all Trump’s corruption, crimes, and ugliness under the rug in order to deliver what donors to his pay-to-play party wanted most: tax cuts for the rich, right-wing judges for the rich, and relentless deregulation of fossil fuel, banking, and other industries, also for the rich.
1. Donald Trump, President of the United States.
The most corrupt president in U.S. history and the most disgraceful person in Trump World: shameless liar and con man, ugly racist and misogynist, vile coronavirus spreader, despicable attacker of the press and whistleblowers, amoral admirer of autocrats, erratic and ignorant incompetent, pathetic narcissist, enabler of global climate disaster, and corrupt, kleptocratic abuser of the Constitution.
Did we miss someone awful, offend your cousin, make an error? Let us know: [email protected]
So much has happened since the election. Given all the events, including the MAGA terrorist attack on the Capitol, maybe the final, final top six then should be:
6. McConnell 5. Barr 4. Graham 3. Pompeo 2. Giuliani 1. Trump
Maybe. But maybe that’s short-sighted, given all the awfulness McConnell and Barr engaged in prior to the last few weeks. And there are still 38 hours to go.