Step 21: Donald Trump nominated Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, a leading climate change “steelhead” denier, Big Oil lackey, and organizer of a secret confederacy of Republican AG’s and energy company executives to attack the Environmental Protection Agency and resist clean air and water standards, to head—you guessed it!—the EPA. He will assist in “tearing up” the Paris climate agreement (signed by 195 countries, including the US, the world’s top polluter) which is the farthest reaching international climate agreement ever ratified, and simultaneously inadequate to the task of avoiding climate catastrophe. Take ten giant steps backward.
Step 22: Linda McMahon, the billionaire former wresting-entertainment impresario who donated $6 million to his presidential campaign, was nominated by Donald Trump to head the Small Business Administration. Extra credit for anyone who can name all the other billionaires in the Trump junta.
Step 23: Ben Carson, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, demurred initially, pointing out that he’d never managed or directed any large organization or agency (BUT, he ran for president!) and had no experience in government or policy making. Carson will soon run a $48 billion agency that oversees public housing and ensures that low-income families have access to safe and affordable housing. He believes, however, that people can only escape poverty through hard work, and that any government assistance softens and weakens people. He argues that government regulations and assistance are forms of totalitarian socialist rule, and he opposes federal housing policy as a type of social engineering. On the positive side, he does live in a house!
Step 24: Donald Trump has picked Andrew Puzder to be Secretary of Labor. Puzder is a critic of worker protections including paid sick leave, and he opposes expanding eligibility for overtime pay or raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. He was charged with domestic violence by his ex-wife, and advertisements that Mr. Puzder’s companies run “frequently feature women wearing next to nothing while gesturing suggestively.” When asked about the ads, Mr. Puzder replied “I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.”
Step 25: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who bagged $516,025 from fossil fuel companies since 1999 and voted consistently in Congress to open up public lands—refuges, ancient forests, parks, and wilderness areas—to drilling, logging, and mining, was tapped by Donald Trump to be the next Interior Secretary. God help the planet!