About 12 hours ago, Donald Trump made the controversial selection of General Michael Flynn, who tells people that it’s “rational” to be afraid of Muslims, as national security advisor. Friday morning brought two more names to the fold. These two gentlemen carry a similar outlook on global and domestic affairs, so at least Trump’s being … consistent with his picks.
Trump’s newest offers include Rep. Mike Pompeo, who recently called the Iran Deal a “disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,” as CIA director (he has accepted the gig). He also reportedly chose Senator Jeff Sessions, a former prosecutor who lost out on a federal judge appointment after cracking KKK jokes, as attorney general:
Sessions, 69, was Trump’s first endorser in the Senate and quickly became the then-candidate’s chief resource on policy. Known for his hard-line views on immigration, the fourth-term senator has been dogged by accusations of racism throughout his career. In 1986, he was denied a federal judgeship after former colleagues testified before a Senate that he joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying he thought they were “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”
Senator Sessions hails from Alabama and has made a reputation for himself by criticizing the NAACP as “un-American” because it “[forces] civil rights down the throats of people.” He staunchly opposes efforts at immigration reform and proposals to eliminate mandatory minimum prison sentences. Throughout Trump’s campaign, Session also heartily expressed support for the proposed Wall between the United States and Mexico. Unlike Pompeo, Sessions’ new gig hasn’t been finalized, but this sounds pretty close:
“While nothing has been finalized and he is still talking with others as he forms his Cabinet, the president-elect has been unbelievably impressed with Senator Sessions and his phenomenal record as Alabama’s attorney general and U.S. attorney.”
Meanwhile, Pompeo is more of a surprise selection (he didn’t speak at the national convention as Sessions did) and represents Kansas in the House. He’s served three terms in Congress and has proven himself to be a harsh critic of Hillary Clinton while serving on the House Intelligence Committee and investigating the 2012 attack on Benghazi. He’s a West Point grad with strong ties to the Koch Brothers, who dropped $80,000 into his campaign coffers in 2010.
Trump, who lacks foreign policy experience, is surrounding himself accordingly, but his selections all share the same worldview. That is to say, they will readily gel with Trump’s proposed policies against refugees and undocumented immigrants. These two don’t carry the flashy names of a Rudy Giuliani or a Newt Gingrich (who has reportedly declined to join Trump’s cabinet), but Trump’s aiming to please his voter base by selecting insiders who will carry out his most polarizing campaign promises. That’s savvy, of course, but it won’t do much to unify the country.