Welcome to the Trump Dump! It’s a periodic peek at the baddest of bad news from the rotten ranks of Team Trump. Hold your nose then dive right in.
Booking passage on our maiden voyage is a rogue’s gallery of dastardly d-bags. We’ve got the newest guy out the door, a redneck bee in California’s bonnet, two big spenders (not with their money) and a corpse with Campbell’s soup.
BASTARD’S BON VOYAGE
One of the few members of Team Trump with an actual skill set, Gary Cohn served as chief economic advisor to the President. He was trotted out whenever the White House wanted to add a spritz of legitimacy to Trump’s latest economic stinkeroo. Cohn usually looked like he believed the bullshit he was peddling, a talent honed during his time at the helm of Goldman Sachs. Business acumen aside, this is a guy who chose to slum it and serve at the pleasure of Donald Trump. That points to a missing moral compass and some plus-size character flaws. True to form, Cohn stuck by his boss no matter how racist, sexist or xenophobic things got. It wasn’t until Trump popped a boner for a trade war that the relationship went south. In the end, Cohn’s line in the sand wasn’t human or humane. Tariffs are what moved him. He resigned last week.
Jeff Sessions is like a white’s only whack-a-mole, popping his head up long enough to do something annoying but dropping back into a hole before you can clock him. Unfortunately, when this sneaky bastard disappears, it’s never about downtime. If Sessions is out of sight, rest assured he’s up to no good. This is a guy who gets all kinds of giddy whenever he can use the office of Attorney General like a battering ram to advance a racist, anti-immigrant agenda. Up next: aiming his Dixie dynamite at the West Coast. This week, Sessions released the Justice Department Kraken on the state of California. He announced a federal lawsuit targeting three sanctuary laws passed by the state legislature. It’s a misguided broadside that smacks of retaliation for past losses on an issue the AG is obsessed with. Even though no court would validate his original scheme to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities, Sessions isn’t giving up. The odds California is the only state in his crosshairs: slim to none.
BUDGET BUSTING BULL-DOZER
Don’t let his dead eyes and aura of hard-wired somnambulance fool you. HUD Secretary Ben Carson is a dangerous man. He’s a uniquely creepy combination of Trump sycophant, Right Wing ideologue and Evangelical zealot. Carson often comes across as a flaky doofus so it’s easy to forget he’s capable of much worse than the now infamous $31,000 dining set debacle. In fact, he delivered on that potential this week. A leaked copy of an internal HUD memo outlined plans to revise the agency mission statement so it would “reflect the Secretary’s priorities and that of the Administration.” Among other things, the re-write scrubs all anti-discrimination language from the mission statement. It’s a radical change and stark confirmation of work Carson has been doing behind the scenes for months. He’s the Housing Secretary who wants to tear down the house.
STINKY HINKY ZINKE
In an Administration chockablock with pricks, it can be difficult to stand out. That’s what makes Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke such a unique gift. He’s usually the biggest prick in the room. It’s a distinction that has nothing to do with his massive head or the cowboy hat. Sure, we know he looks like a jackass when he wears it, but he’s clueless and that’s part of the fun. No, Zinke’s special because he’s a full-on prick right down to his DNA. He’s got the cocksure swagger of a guy who has no idea his cocksure swagger is both punchline and joke. Combine that with a meathead persona and a passion for exploiting public land and you’ve got a prick as big as Montana is wide. When Zinke isn’t reducing the size of national monuments or sucking up to the oil industry, he enjoys living large on the taxpayer’s dime. He’s already gotten lots of attention for his love of questionable travel expenses. A lesser prick would stop there. Not Ryan Zinke. He’s an alpha-prick and that means going big. How big? $139,000 big. That’s how much his office spent to renovate a trio of doors. As he so often does, Zinke feigned ignorance, the go to happy place for big pricks like him.
DEAD MAN TALKING
Secretary of Commerce, living fossil, talking corpse. Wilbur Ross is all of these things and not much more. It’s easy to fixate on his shrunken apple head and forget you’re not watching a weird puppet. He might look older than Methuselah, but Ross is genuine flesh and (mostly) bone. When he isn’t snoozing in his crypt, Grampy Wilbur can be found bending the President’s ear with protectionist propaganda. Trump might be the public face of recently announced steel and aluminum tariffs, but Ross crafted the plan. He also managed to outflank free-trade advocate Gary Cohn and send him packing. Ross took a victory lap to sell the tariffs and tamp down trade war chatter. For those watching at home, the real fun came during his appearance on CNBC. That’s when Ross tried to punch up a pro-tariff talking point with a can of Campbell’s soup. It didn’t work. As if a prop flop wasn’t bad enough, the response from Campbell’s shredded whatever claim he was trying to make.