Trump's Early Administration & Major Policy Shifts - Computer Scientists Urging Clinton to Challenge Results
Trump is working on building a successful administration, and he’s reaching out to a number of prominent names in many fields to facilitate that. And while some rumors bode surprisingly well (a slight not to ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, here), many are causing uncertainty and confusion. Add to that that Trump seems to be evolving his views on several prominent positions from the campaign trail, and you can see a fairly clear cause for a myriad of questions. Liberals are uncertain what to expect: they were facing a political outsider who claimed a surprising win, but now is dismantling major portions of his own political framework. Conservatives are facing a similar uncertainty, but more one of wondering (and perhaps doubting) how many of Trump’s campaign promises to take seriously. Sound like an exaggeration? Bear with me, and I’ll make my case.
So, first - we’ve got fresh news from the Trump team regarding former Presidential candidate and world-renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Carson, it turns out, has been offered the chance to head up the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).1 This is coming as a surprise to many political news junkies, as Carson had (as recently as last week) been in the news for declining a different Cabinet position – Health and Human Services.2 The question of the moment, then, would seem to be: why?? Carson’s reported rejection of the Health and Human Services stewardship took him out of the running for what would have seemed the most logical fit.2 Carson’s educational and professional backgrounds would, one imagines, act as an effective counter-balance to Carson’s lacking experience in politics and government were he heading Health and Human Services. The same can’t be said for taking the lead with HUD.
And then we have Trump’s confirmation that he is selecting South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as his pick for US ambassador to the United Nations.3 Now - Haley has been a political figure of note in South Carolina for over a decade, with experience as both a State Representative and the Governor. While this political experience does lend her some credence, there’s still the question of how well she’ll cope with her lacking national-level experience or foreign policy credentials. The question carries weight, given as ambassador to the UN she’ll be representing the nation before the international community. It’s not as off as a pick as Carson for HUD, but it does leave one wondering.
But let’s get to the last part, as promised: campaign promise reversals. Despite previously pledging to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump has now floated the idea of amending it instead – citing both advice from President Obama and appreciation for portions of it.4 Then we have his claims that he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, which he is also backtracking.5 And, of course, we have the acknowledgement of climate change as a legitimate phenomenon, contradicting previous claims.6 And the legendary, oft-referenced wall will now be partially constructed of fencing, apparently – again shifting from election promises.7 Add to that the fact that Trump appears to be flooding the swamp with more insiders, Carson excepted, than he is draining it – and we’ve got a laundry list of major policy shifts less than a month after the man won the presidency.8 Make note: I’m intentionally citing each point separately to stress that number of separate decisions and changes this entails. What can Democrats make of a President-elect that is, by his own admission, backtracking a good number of the staples of his campaign speech promises? And how betrayed, or perhaps even comforted, do Republicans feel knowing he’s making these policy changes less than a month after the win was secured?
To say the least – the Trump administration is growing and Trump’s major policies are changing in ways that command attention almost constantly around the daily news cycle. Now, add to that the breaking news that Senator Elizabeth Warren is requesting the Government Accountability Office look into President-elect Trump’s business holdings out of concern for conflicts of interest9 *and* the news that a group of computer scientists are urging Hillary Clinton to challenge the election results based on possible hacking or digital manipulation of voting records10. To say that the last couple weeks following the election have been confusing and disconcerting would likely be a drastic understatement. For now, we’re left watching the events unfold. Clinton may challenge the results, but that remains to be seen so far.