Trump Begins Witch Hunt, Hangs With Kanye
As expected, yesterday, Donald Trump announced Rex Tillerson’s nomination for secretary of state, despite worries regarding Tillerson’s background as the Exxon Mobil CEO and a friend of Putin’s. In the official statement, Trump said, “He will be a forceful and clear-eyed advocate for America’s vital national interests and help reverse years of misguided foreign policies and actions that have weakened America’s security and standing in the world.” Tillerson has never held a government role, but released an additional statement saying he shared Trump’s “vision for restoring the credibility of the United States’ foreign relations and advancing our country’s national security.”
Trump also announced another pick — Rick Perry for the Energy Department. Perry originally wanted to axe the Energy Department, as recently as five years ago. The department oversees nuclear weapon security and is involved in the climate agenda and nuclear deals. Some Republicans are looking forward to see what Perry does with the role, and major reform is expected. Some are worried that Trump and Perry will eliminate huge parts of the department completely, especially after the Trump team requested the names of all department employees who participated in the Obama administration climate initiatives, and who attended climate change meetings.
The request has sparked fear and worry for many department employees and associates, with some calling it a “witch hunt.” One leader at the department headquarters said he had “received lots of calls, emails, messages expressing shock and dismay.” However, Trump will be unable to legally fire employees for working on climate change initiatives; regardless, that does not mean he’s not able to oust senior executives. A civil service expert told the Washington Post that, “a greater concern would be that selected employees could be marginalized, i.e., ignored, by new leadership at the Department solely based on unfounded conjecture that those employees cannot be trusted by the new political team. The consequences for contract employees could be greater if a future decision not to renew a contract is influenced by the same unsupported speculation.”
Obama spoke briefly regarding Trump’s recent actions Monday night on “The Daily Show.” He particularly addressed Trump’s hesitation to receive daily intelligence briefings, something that Obama himself struggled with during his time in office. “I think the president-elect may say one thing and do another once he’s here, because the truth of the matter is it’s a big complicated world. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. You have to have the best information possible to make the best decisions possible.” Obama also acknowledged “clear relationships between members of the President-elect’s campaign team and the Russians and a professed shared view on a bunch of issues.”
Regardless of all the criticism, one individual is flying the Trump support flag high. Kanye West, who’s been very vocal about his love for the president-elect, visited Trump Tower this week for a brief conversation and a photo op. Reporter questions as to what the two spoke about were mostly ignored, with Trump saying they had been friends a long time and were merely speaking about “life.” West arrived at the Tower with his own entourage and camera crew, before disappearing 15 minutes later.
Iran has declared that the United States has violated its 2015 atomic deal, after Congress extended sanctions on Tehran. The deal, which halted Iran nuclear fuel production in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions, has been highly criticized by Trump, who has promised to eliminate the deal completely. In response, Iran said it would start developing nuclear-powered marine vessels immediately, though it was not entirely clear whether they intend to build ships or also submarines. Under the deal, Iran is not permitted to enrich uranium above 3.67 percent purity until 2030. However, if Iran actually does begin these nuclear developments, they will most likely be in direct violation of the agreement, which does not only affect the United States, but also the other signatories — France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and China. Some sources are saying that, if Iran follows through on its promises, nuclear weapons production in the country is an almost guaranteed bet. Congress is denying that any of its actions are in violation of the 2015 deal.