Throughout the course of his campaign, Donald Trump pressed home the point that he intended to drain the “swamp” in Washington if elected President. The swamp he was referring to, at least for the American electorate, meant the people and the vested interests in Washington whose lobbying abilities for various industries made sure that true policy changes in America never happened without the consent of corporations or Wall Street.
Now with a day to go before Donald Trump’s inauguration takes place, that promise, along with a host of other campaign promises, seems to have been made in jest. In fact, in the first full interview Trump gave after being elected as the president, he himself admitted that he made certain promises during the campaign trail because they “played well” with audiences.
But perhaps nothing will come to haunt Trump’s voters more than the promise that he would rid Washington of the usual suspects. His cabinet picks are a bunch of globalists and billionaires who either have little idea about the specifics of the area they have been chosen to represent, or those who have worked tirelessly to undermine the very institutions that form the core of American democracy.
Take for example, the senate hearings on Trump’s pick for the Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos. The billionaire activist, whose father-in-law is the co-founder of the dubious Amway corporation, has long advocated for ridding America of its haloed public school system in the favor of privatized education. During her senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, DeVos floored lawmakers with her utter ignorance, and at times indifference, in the matters of school education. As the folks over at Esquire put it aptly, DeVos’ confirmation hearing was a show in futility. It not only undermined democracy in America, but was an “insult” to it.
“It was not a hearing. It was the mere burlesque of a hearing, rendered meaningless by a preposterously accelerated process that rendered all questioning perfunctory and that left all cheap evasions hanging in the air of the committee room the way cigarette smoke used to canopy the proceedings back in the day. You would not hire a gardener through the process by which Betsy DeVos likely is going to become the Secretary of Education. A public school system wouldn’t hire her to work the cafeteria line at lunch. It was appalling. It was unnerving. It was a grotesque of how an evolved democracy should operate. It was business as usual these days and it likely isn’t going to matter a damn.”
When asked by senator Al Franken on what her views were about the distinction in education between proficiency and growth, this is what Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education had to say.
“I think if I am understanding your question correctly around proficiency, I would correlate it to competency and mastery, so each student is measured according to the advancements they are making in each subject area,” she said.
To which Al Franken interjected, pointing out that what she was talking about was growth, not proficiency. But DeVos could not take the hint, and still could not figure out the dialectics of a debate that has been raging among education policy makers in America for a long time.
“Proficiency is if they have reached a third grade level for reading, etc,” DeVos said.
Such an answer did not only floor Al Franken, but social media as well. Twitter was rife with videos of how DeVos had fumbled over the questions asked of her, with The Nation even reporting that the billionaire had “flunked her senate test.”
Watch the exchange between Al Franken and Betsy DeVos below yourself.
— deray mckesson (@deray) January 18, 2017
This was not even all. There were various points where DeVos could not answer the questions, at one point even justifying the usage of guns in public schools because they could protect the children from “potential grizzlies.”
“Do guns have a place in public schools? That’s ‘best left to locales and states to decide,’ she said, adding that they might be necessary to ward off grizzly-bear attacks.”
— Tom McKay (@thetomzone) January 18, 2017
At another moment during the confirmation hearing, when Senator Maggie Hassan asked Betsy DeVos to explain her role at the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, where she served as the vice president for 12 years up until 2013, DeVos simply said that the information was wrong, calling it a “clerical error.”
“That was a clerical error — I can assure you,” DeVos said about her role in the foundation, according to The Washington Post.
Growth v proficiency?
States should decide disabled education standards
Disavows LGBT discrimination
Guns for Grizzlies
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) January 18, 2017
In fact, there were so many moments during DeVos’ hearing that betrayed her ignorance or simply belied her dumbness in matters of education that it would be impossible to list them all out here. But what we saw with DeVos’ hearing was a microcosm of how Donald Trump’s other picks have fared during their confirmation hearings. Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated for the post of Attorney General and who has boasted about his Civil Rights record, was taken to the task by Senator Al Franken too, the Independent reports.
“Although Mr Franken does not have a law degree, while Jeff Sessions has been a lawyer for all of his adult life, it became apparent that Mr Sessions’ claims that he filed 20 to 30 cases to desegregate schools were inaccurate.”
During the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee which took place on Tuesday, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders challenged President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior, Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke from Montana, about his beliefs on climate change. When asked if he considered climate change a “hoax” like incoming president Trump, Zinke said that he did not consider it a hoax although he would have to listen to both sides of the debate more closely. At this point, Sanders interjected to inform Zinke that there was no debate within the scientific community about the dastardly effects of climate change.
“Actually, there’s not a lot of debate. The scientific community is virtually unanimous that climate change is real and causing devastating problems.
There is a debate on this committee, but not within the scientific community.”
All of which goes on to prove that most of Donald Trump’s decisions about his cabinet spring from his association with globalists and funders rather than the nominees’ own sense of expertise in a particular field. Needless to add, all of them are billionaires who have either contributed to Trump in the past, or have been the subject of financial aid from Donald Trump himself.
So here is the conclusion we have reached: Trump has not drained the swamp, but only made it murkier.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]