Looking deeper

Research on cabinet members should be valued when looking at Trump presidency

By Lanthorn Editorial Board | 1/18/17 10:22pm


Since the election of Donald J. Trump Tuesday, Nov. 8, there has been no shortage of people stepping up to speak their mind about the election results. From protests to speeches to celebrity endorsements, all eyes have been on Trump and what his presidency will mean for the U.S. However, as we get closer and closer to inauguration day, we seem to be casting a shadow on a key part of any presidency: cabinet picks.

These are the people who will be advising Trump on matters regarding plans of defense, the education system and many other important parts of the U.S. government. We have to look at what we have learned so far. Throughout Trump's race to the White House, he has been criticized for relying on instincts and personal relationships instead of focusing on strategic planning and long-term goals. Unfortunately, this rash behavior seems to be also reflected in his choices for the new White House Cabinet. Maybe Trump has a secret, genius plan that we're just all out of the loop on—but it's highly doubtful.  

One of the stories getting the most reader traffic right now is the selection and hearing of Betsy DeVos for the position of U.S. Secretary of Education. Though this story is getting attention worldwide, this is a pick that truly hits home for members of the greater Grand Rapids community. DeVos is known throughout Grand Rapids as a large benefactor for the community, as well as for the Republican Party.  

The biggest problem with the DeVos selection is her utter lack of experience and the extreme personal views that she has on the education system. Though she is known as a strong education activist, she has no official training or experience with education other than the causes that she puts money into and advocates for. We understand that part of the appeal of a Trump presidency was based on the fact that he was an "outsider" to politics and will put a "fresh spin" on politics. However, where do we draw the line? Putting people in high positions, such as in the U.S. cabinet, should be based on more than which rich person with a political hobby will fit in best. 

Additionally, each of Trump's picks have donated enormous amounts to the Trump campaign. Looking at President Barack Obama's administration, we also see cabinet members who donated to the presidential campaign; however, these donations were nowhere near the amount the Trump cabinet's contributions total. We need to be looking past the glamour and flash of these selections and take a serious look at the personal politics that we are bringing into the White House. 

DeVos is not the only controversial selection Trump has made. For his secretary of state pick, Trump selected Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxonmobil. The position is regarded as one of the highest in the government and has usually been occupied by a long-standing politician who has worked in the government sphere for many years. Steve Bannon was also Trump's selection for chief strategist. Bannon is known for having extreme alt-right views which conflict heavily with the basis of the Republican party. Bannon is also quite publicly critical of House speaker Paul Ryan. You don't have to be a democrat to be worried about these choices that threaten the very reason America exists: freedom.

So we're left with a decision: Do we simply sit by as decisions are made for the next four years without proper thought and research, or do we contact our representatives, make our voices heard and let the nation know that we know better, that we deserve better. Yes, Trump is going to be president, but what he does with the presidency is up to us and what we allow, and we need to take that responsibility seriously. 

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