Step 31: Donald Trump tapped Rick Perry, a leading climate change denier whose moment of fame involved his embarrassed “Oops!” in response to his brain freeze during the 2012 presidential debates when he couldn’t name the Energy Department as one of three agencies he would close as president, to head the (Wait for it…! Wait for it…!) the Energy Department, of course! The three-term governor of Texas, a state on fire, has campaigned repeatedly and noisily against any environmental restrictions that would impact Big Oil or Big Energy. “I’m no scientist,” he concedes as he pockets another payment from the filthy extractors and the profit-hungry polluters. He vehemently opposes regulations that would cut carbon emissions or policies that would constrain expanding oil and gas exploration because these are essential to “economic opportunity” and “energy independence” adding that “CO2 is not a pollutant!” You can imagine the governor looking distantly out the window of his mansion with those vacant steely eyes and observing that the earth is plainly flat as far as he can see, or, as he might put it, “Hey, why am I not upside-down?” Oh, you are governor, you are.
Step 32: Donald Trump nominated Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana to be the Secretary of the Interior. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was dropped at the 11th hour because Zinke, who also favors opening up public lands for private profit, had “incredible chemistry” with the president-elect during their one-on-one at Trump Tower, plus Zinke isn’t encumbered by, you know, “lady parts.”
Step 33: An auction item—a 45-minute private coffee with Ivanka Trump in exchange for a contribution to one of her favorite charities—reached $72,888 before her handlers shut it down after a few of the people bidding for the honor said that they assumed they were buying access to the White House. (Shhhhh! Didn’t they get the memo? The line is “I just wanted really good coffee and a chat with a fun person.” Get it right!)
Step 34: On another fund-raising/drain-the-swamp/pay-to-play note, the Opening Day Foundation (founding board member: Eric Trump!) is holding a gala event in Washington after the Inauguration. The promise of a multi-day hunting trip with Eric and Donald, Jr., or a private meeting with the new president for a $1,000,000 donation was rescinded when questions were raised about the “appearance of impropriety.”
Step 35: Donald Trump selected Rep. Mike Mulvaney of South Carolina, a founder of the Tea Party-inspired House Freedom Caucus and a leading member of the “Shutdown Caucus,” so called because of its willingness to force deep spending cuts and to shut down the government if they didn’t get their way, to be his budget director.
More to come!