The Worst US President-Elect
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
Created on Thursday, December 15, 2016,11:00
Never in the history of the USA has there been an President-elect so lacking in knowledge and experience in politics, so utterly shameless in his behaviour, with a tendency to lie about every possible issue based on the endless string of fake news he is fed by members of the reality show into which he turned his electoral campaign. Trump has created a circle of fake climate change experts who have declared, without any supporting scientific evidence whatsoever, that there is no problem with ecological balance and the use of fossil fuels. He also has a group of alleged spies who have come to erroneous and reckless conclusions about Russian hacking in the recent presidential elections, despite the fact that US law is very clear that only the CIA can make a judgment on these national security issues.
According to New York University Professor Edward Goldberg who is an expert scientist on energy and climate issues, “What has made the United States great has been its ability to attract the world’s smartest immigrants who have been able to develop technology and boost human capital.’ Goldberg says he doesn’t understand why the United States needs a new foreign policy if the one that existed before Trump is the one that has enabled this greatness.
Goldberg points out that it is reasonable to raise questions about climate change, but it makes no sense to not have experts in that field sitting with experts from NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), before having climate change denied by scientists in other fields who do not have a distinguished track record in environmental assessment.
The Trump people has also exonerated Russia from hacking in the presidential election, but it makes no sense to rule out the possibility of spying without first obtaining information from the CIA whose agents risked their lives to keep the national security system secret. But Trump has ignored environmental impacts and Putin’s evil-doing while showing a high degree of aggressiveness towards China, a country that has very smartly brought prosperity to its people and to Asians in general over the last four decades.
All the leading independent political analysts consider it reckless and misguided to make such radical decisions about the use of energy, the environment and foreign policy. They believe that these radical positions could cause serious foreign policy problems, as well as violent reactions from nations that see the world differently.
There are some Republican lawmakers, such as John Mc.Cain and Lindsay Graham, who insist that Congress should investigate Russia’s hacking to help Trump and that if Russia did do so, it should be seen as an act of war that would lead to severe economic sanctions. In fact, what Trump and his advisers have done in making decisions without any analysis is very serious, because if somehow it is discovered that Russia helped Trump in the elections then nobody will believe in the elections and US national security would be up in the air.
There is no doubt that Trump will have to do something right now so that his attitude is not interpreted as the creation of an alliance with Putin to enable him to take control of Europe. As the brilliant Stanford University expert Larry Diamond has said, “The most pressing thing now is to get the US to respond to the growing threat Russia poses to US freedom and its alliance with the West.” Although this is now the most important thing for the entire world, Trump seems removed from that reality.
Unlike the reality shows where Trump and his henchmen said what they wanted without being challenged, his nominees will face a long process to ensure that they will work for the American people and not for their own businesses. By law they will have to submit hundreds of pages of financial disclosure, give up their jobs and avoid conflicts of interest. They also have to undergo FBI background checks for the last 15 years. In addition, they must be subjected to confirmation or rejection by the Senate which will have other requirements. Although in the particular case of Trump such procedures are optional, he has not only failed to dispose of his main shares, but he doesn’t even want to give up his role on ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’
The main law required by the Office of Government Ethics is 18 USC § 208 which considers it a criminal act for a public employee of the executive branch to ‘participate personally and substantially’ in matters of government that affect his financial interests, or the financial interests of his spouse, minor child, general partner or employee, or any person with whom he is negotiating to reach an agreement concerning prospective employment.
This means that members of the Trump team cannot have any type of job. They should resign from those jobs and from Boards of Directors, sell their stocks and disclose the amount of the payments, as well as any claims or other proceedings that represent a potential conflict. So if they want to follow the law, public officials will have to make great sacrifices. According to Steven Rattner, the investment banker who oversaw the rescue of the auto industry in the Obama administration, he had to spend $400,000 in lawyer fees to handle the process of paid work that only lasted less than a year. Rattner says that Trump does not intend to sacrifice anything. He will do everything in his own way, which will not be in keeping with what any other person becoming a government employee would have to do.
According to Rattner, Trump is going along without attaching importance to this legal procedure and is not disclosing his financial interests, either because he does not understand the importance of doing so or because he does not care, since he believes that as President he will be able to engage in more scams than he did as a private citizen.
Addendum: It will be difficult for the Trump government to succeed under these conditions. And China will become the world’s most powerful country sooner than expected.