Republican President-elect Donald Trump has had a myriad of political leaders and power brokers parading through his offices since his surprise election win. Many are are hoping for official administration appointments. Others are hoping to influence behind the scene, and still others are obviously looking to cozy up with the next president before he is sworn into office.
But there are some people talking to Trump that should have everyone concerned about the future of our nation over the next four years. In fact, these aren’t just your standard mainstream GOP politicians anymore.
1) Michelle Rhee
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Although Rhee is in fact a Democrat, her position on education is anything but standard progressive policy. Rhee has been a vocal advocate for stripping taxpayer funding from public schools to give to private schools, instead. That’s a plan that is totally in line with Trump’s own education platform, too.
“Trump’s School Choice Policy released in September calls for his incoming administration to ‘immediately’ redirect $20 billion in federal funds to school choice — in the form of block grants for an estimate 11 million school-age children living in poverty,” Fox News announced, reporting on his meeting with Rhee. “‘We want every disadvantaged child to be able to choose the local public, private, charter or magnet school that is best for them and their family,’ the Trump campaign said in announcing the plan. ‘Each state will develop its own formula, but the dollars should follow the student.'”
What Fox doesn’t discuss is how “school choice” is predominately a way to defund public schools as well as feed funding to private and charter schools, many of which are run by religious organizations. It also helps strip teacher tenure pay, allowing schools to spend even less on educators, and weakens their unions.
Oh, and she once taped her students’ mouths shut to keep them quiet.
2) Jerry Falwell, Jr.
The president of the highly Evangelical Liberty University backed Trump to the point where even the students themselves began to protest. Now there are rumors he may be rewarded with the job of Secretary of Education in return.
“Falwell tells local media that he and Trump met Thursday at Trump Tower to discuss the U.S. Department of Education and Falwell’s potential role,” the Associated Press reports. “He wouldn’t confirm or deny whether he was being vetted as secretary of education, but says he will ‘definitely play a role’ in the administration.”
What would a Department of Education look like under Falwell? Horrifying, according to Alternet. “Liberty University President, Jerry Falwell Jr. is under consideration for Secretary of Education. Yes, the president of an Evangelical university, who believes that evolution is a lie, who is president of a university that was founded in opposition to school integration, may be dictating the educational agenda of America’s public school children.”
If Trump signs religious “conscience” protections into law like the Evangelicals wanted, then taxpayer dollars very likely would funnel straight into religious schools that discriminate on race and sexual orientation, too.
3) Rep. Kris Kobach
Kobach is one of many names still being considered for potentially leading the Department of Homeland Security, but of all of them he may be the most worrisome.
“Kobach led the creation of NSEERS after 9/11,” reports the Conservative Review. “That’s the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System that required higher scrutiny and common-sense registration requirements for individuals from jihad-friendly countries including Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as other at-risk countries.”
In other words, he’s the brainchild behind “extreme vetting” and he’s adamant about a Muslim registry (so adamant it was at the top of his to-do list when he met with Trump.) Oh, and he literally wrote the book on voter suppression, too.
4) Mike Huckabee
While Huckabee in a Trump administration might not be completely awful (at least, not any more so than his other appointments), Huckabee as potentially the next Secretary of Health and Human Services? That’s beyond alarming. The HHS Secretary would be the one extensively working on whatever the GOP tries to replace Obamacare with, and Huckabee is adamantly opposed to people with pre-existing conditions even being covered.
Oh, and if that isn’t frightening enough, he would oversee the FDA. In other words, a person who thinks a fertilized egg is a full human with complete rights would be in charge of birth control, which he believes only exists because “women can’t control their libidos.”