I risked losing my fellow anti-establishment readers in September by suggesting Trump may be an establishment Trojan horse. After seeing Trump choose Pence as VP and a Goldman Sachs exec as campaign finance manager, I was concerned the establishment knew a citizen’s revolt was brewing and made sure that even the road to revolt led back to Rome. Now that we are seeing Trump make actual decisions, we can test that hypothesis.
Trump’s INSTANT reversal on major campaign promises
Trump has not simply backed off on some of his campaign promises, but has backed away from the promises that seemed to fire up his supporters the most. That he scaled the wall across the Mexican border down to a wall in some places and mere fences in others is, frankly, less significant than the main-stream media is playing it to be. If the border patrol thinks a fence will do as well as a wall in some places, why spend more money on a wall? Scaling down the wall could just be Trump, the pragmatist, applying common sense as he listens to the border patrol about their needs and seeks the most cost-effective solution. Trump is a pragmatist.
Of course, a wall was never the right solution in the first place IF Trump actually wants to stop illegal immigrants in a cost-effective manner from taking US jobs. Jailing the people who knowingly hire illegal immigrants (in addition to fining them) would end the problem in about a month at almost no cost, and the best part is that those who are illegal and couldn’t get work would find their own ride home (so long as you also cut off welfare). As for stopping terrorists and drug smugglers, the job of catching them becomes much easier once you stop the flood of illegal laborers that make up 95% of the total flow of illegal aliens — with or without a wall.
Much more problematic for Trump supporters is Trump’s rapid melting back from sending all illegal aliens back to their home countries to just sending back those that are criminals. Trump says that, at some later phase, his administration will evaluate who among the remaining illegals should also go; but even that clearly says he has no intention of sending all illegal aliens home.
That is a sea change from his campaign position because, apparently, it no longer matters if millions are here illegally for the sole purpose of taking jobs, so long as they are behaving themselves. Trump even tested this on one audience, after securing the Republican nomination, asking if they really want to see him break up good families and good workers if they’re behaving themselves; but the audience wasn’t receptive to the idea of just sending out the bad actors.
Trump strongly indicated in an interview on 60 Minutes as soon as he was elected that he is not inclined to lock Hillary up because he feels she needs time to heal from her loss. Isn’t that sweet? That is another overnight turnabout from constantly shouting that Hillary is crooked and stating that he would put her in jail if elected. Ain’t gonna happen. Apparently, she wasn’t THAT crooked:
Lesley Stahl: Are you going to ask for a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton over her emails? And are you, as you had said to her face, going to try and put her in jail?
Donald Trump: Well, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to think about it. Um, I feel that I want to focus on jobs, I want to focus on healthcare, I want to focus on the border and immigration and doing a really great immigration bill. We want to have a great immigration bill. And I want to focus on all of these other things that we’ve been talking about.
He’s going to think about it? I’m sorry but selecting a special prosecutor is how you stay focused on other things while letting the special prosecutor take on Hillary. Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like President Obama at the beginning of his reign when asked what he was going to do about the Wall Street banksters who had just broken the entire global economy? His establishment answer was that we could not afford as a nation to waste time looking back and pinning blame on people because we needed to focus all our energy on looking forward. Is that how Trump will also be toward all the banksters he threatened to bring down? Time to just look ahead … again?
Lesley Stahl: You called her “crooked Hillary,” said you wanted to get her in jail, your people in your audiences kept saying, “Lock em’ up.”
Donald Trump: I don’t want to hurt them. I don’t want to hurt them. They’re, they’re good people. I don’t want to hurt them…
[Then, as if to change the subject, Trump turned to his wife and said,]
You look great, honey.
Crooked people are good people? Why did Trump spend so much energy railing against a good person? Is he willing to rip good people to shreds just to get ahead? Will he also pronounce the Wall Street banksters “good people?” If Trump had called Hillary “crooked” just once, you might say, “OK, he got a little carried away back then and said more than he meant,” but Trump continually did everything he could at every chance he could find to work his supporters up with the hope that crooked people like the Clintons (his words) would go to jail. Less than a week after he was elected, he washed his hands of it and rendered his judgment that Hillary and William are good people.
He also emphasized three times that he doesn’t want to hurt either one of them. I’m glad to discover Trump has a conscience and cares more about how is actions hurt people more than he apparently does about how his words hurt them; but is not wanting to hurt the crooked people the way you turn the US back into a nation of law-and-order that starts in getting the crooks out of Washington?
Says Trump’s campaign chief, Kelly Ann Conway,
When the president-elect who’s also the head of your party … tells you before he’s even inaugurated he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message….. I think Hillary Clinton still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest or trustworthy, but if Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that’s a good thing. (New York Post)
I don’t want to hurt the Clintons. I really don’t. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways. (The Washington Post)
It’s time to move forward and let the healing begin … even for the crooks.
Trump also said on 60 Minutes that, rather than scrapping Obamacare as he had promised, he’d keep the best parts of it — the parts that people like — and replace the rest. That’s not likely to work out too well, as the plan’s funding doesn’t work when the pieces get parted out. We’ll see.
As 60-Minutes said in its summary of the interview,
What we discovered in Mr. Trump’s first television interview as president-elect, was that some of his signature issues at the heart of his campaign were not meant to be taken literally, but as opening bids for negotiation.
Seems like the only thing Trump is certainly sticking with is his tax plan. And why not since every part of his tax plan benefits him and his family directly? They’ll save enough millions to fill a bank vault! That is apparently the only sacrosanct part of all of his promises. The rest wilted down in less than a week.
Trouble in the Trump transition team
All of that, however, does not say as much about whether Trump is sold out to the establishment as what his first actual decisions say, starting with the transition team he assembled:
Lesley Stahl: Your own transition team, it’s filled with lobbyists.
Donald Trump: That’s the only people you have down there.
Lesley Stahl: You have lobbyists from Verizon, you have lobbyists from the oil gas industry, you have food lobby.
Donald Trump: Sure. Everybody’s a lobbyist down there–
Lesley Stahl: Well, wait….
Donald Trump: That’s what they are. They’re lobbyists or special interests—
Lesley Stahl: On your own transition team.
That’s the only people you have down there? He admits that’s what his team is? If your plan is to drain the Washington swamp, why would you be starting with a team that is mostly swamp dwellers?
Trumps transition team started off looking like the Who’s Who of the Wall-Street-Washington corridor — i.e, “the establishment.” Many of his transition team members came from industries that will be under regulation by people the transition team is putting in place — some of the biggest corporate lobbyists that Trump said he was going to drain out Foggy Bottom — lobbyists for Goldman Sachs, Aetna, Microsoft, etc.. The consultant who was helping Trump pick the head the Environmental Protection Agency is a lobbyist for Koch Industries!
I can see that you might work with some people in Washington who have been around the block a few times and know where others stand … if you can find some who have been pretty straight players or people whose loyalty you are for some reason certain will supersede their corruption (mafia style loyalty); but why would you load your team with lobbyists as the ones to preselect all candidates for the Team Trump when lobbyists are the main ones you said you want to get rid of? Won’t they just make sure that every option that is presented to you is someone who will give them a back door of access?
Trump’s process looks a lot less like draining the swamp and more like putting the alligators in charge of protecting the flamingos.
The transition team met regularly with the Financial Services Roundtable, an association of lobbyists formerly called the Bankers Roundtable that represents Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and other large banks. One would presume, since Trump’s transition team has 4,000 positions to fill in a very short time, that the team was going to the bankster’s roundtable to form a list of candidates for several of those positions. Aren’t they an organization whose business is to make certain they, in the very least, have back doors of access to the president?
The oldest game in the swampy Wall-Street play book is to get your own executives in charge of all the government’s regulatory agencies. I mean, who would be better to head the Food and Drug Administration than a former vice president at Monsanto — the experts in what food should be … or become?
Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by you the American people [Trump said in his campaign].
“I have disavowed all Super PACs,” Trump, the campaigner, said.
This is what disavowed looks like?
Putting the Super PACs (the biggest lobbyists) like the bankster’s roundtable in charge of nominating the people who will form your future government is the way you reduce their influence in your government? I know that if I ran a lobbyist consultancy, I’d want to make sure my organization had a seat at that table where the future government is being assembled.
Trump repeatedly assured his supporters that being a billionaire did not mean he was committed to serving the desires of the 1%. It meant he would not be beholden to big corporate money because he had enough of his own money to fund his campaign. After Trump secured the Republican nomination, however, he quickly started raising money through big corporate lobbyists, who have now gained seats on his transition team.
With all of that — and that’s just my opening bid, a mere introduction to this exposé — is it still unreasonable that I wonder if Trump is a Trojan horse for the establishment that he was born into and has lived in and had as customers all of his life?
In Trump’s defense — his anti-establishment moves
There is, however, a balancing side to the story. Once the prosecution introduces its case, the defense takes over. It is amazing sometimes how the prosecution can convince you someone is a dirty as mud; then the defense starts building its case, and suddenly you’re not so sure things looked all that bad for the defendant. I want to look objectively at both sides of Trump’s words and actions to try to see where Trump is heading. So, here’s the other side:
Trump moved quickly and dramatically to oust New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as the head of the Trump transition team and put Mike Pence in his place after the revelation that Christie was fully knowledgeable and likely responsible for the politically motivated “Bridgegate.” (Two of Christie’s top aides were convicted for closing the George Washington Bridge to retaliate against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for governor — dirty politics that made the populace suffer just to get even with a political enemy.)
Christie was one of the first big-name Republican candidates to boost Trump by endorsing him, and Christie became a dedicated helper to Trump throughout the remaining campaign. Does this show Trump is willing to hurt crooked people if that is what he needs to do to keep his own government clean, even if they are his friend and supporter? It could be evidence that Trump is willing to drain the swamp, even if he finds some swamp slime on his own team or among his own friends. Reports said Trump really laid into Christie, but the mainstream media that said Trump royally balled him out will say anything today as it makes up fake news for headlines, so who knows about what happened behind closed doors? What we do know is Christie is off the team, and that it was a sudden and decisive move.
The Christie transition is evidence that Trump is responsive to legitimate criticism against his efforts, such as he got from Leslie Stahl. (Notice, he also didn’t attack her as he did Megan Kelly for going after him with tough questions. He remained as calm as he has said he can be once in the president’s role.) It shows Trump is willing to quickly move key players out if they’re connected with scandals, but is that because Trump wants to keep corruption off his team or because Trump will forget loyalty the second it gets in the way of his own image?
Who can know the motivations of any man or the inner workings of his heart, but Christie had other flaws besides his scandalous connections. As the head of Trump’s transition team prior to the election, Christie was the person responsible for loading the transition team with lobbyists, establishment politicians, and with his own cronies from New Jersey, as Trump was learning through the criticism of 60 Minutes and other reporters. It was all politics the old-fashioned way:
In the days following the election, Trump expressed deep frustration about how Christie was handling the transition. In particular, he vented about how the governor had loaded up the team with lobbyists, the very class of people Trump had campaigned against…. The president-elect also noticed that Christie had stocked his team with old New Jersey friends and allies…. Once the dust settled from their surprise win, the Trump team noticed that Christie had done little to vet potential administration picks or to dig into potential conflicts of interests. With Democrats eager to pounce on any early mistake, it was an oversight they simply couldn’t afford. (Politico)
Christie, on the other hand, believed that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had it out for him from the beginning because Christie, when he was a US attorney, had prosecuted Jared’s father. Their relationship on the team was always strained, and Kushner objected to Christie from the get go.
At the same time Trump jettisoned Christie, he also lobbed the lobbyists off of his transition team. Was that evidence of a leader who is rapidly responsive to legitimate criticism or does it reveal someone expeditiously doing what he needed to when he got caught and people started to get upset? Either way, you have to wonder how the lobbyists made it on the team in the first place. Was Trump that inattentive to something absolutely critical to his success from this point forward so that his government immediately went the opposite way of where he wanted it to go? The huge and rapid course correction makes it look like Trump got off to a bad start; but it says he is quick to correct course if that happens. He didn’t mince any words or waste any time.
Other evidence that Trump actually does want to change the establishment is that his transition team also included people like Rudolph W. Giuliani and Stephen K Bannon who embody the promises Trump made to his supporters, even though nearly all Democrats (and establishment Republicans) passionately hate them.
Giuliani aggressively battled down crime in New York. He boldly pursued an enormously dangerous task of cleaning up a mafia-ridden city. Described by Time magazine as “The Rotting Apple,” NYC had developed an ugly, violent reputation and was teetering on bankruptcy. Giuliani has proven he can do a lot to drain one of the worst swamps in the nation and make it place people like to be again. (Far from the alabaster city’s Ross Perot said we should have, but nowhere near as dark and gritty as it was.)
One of Trump’s major promises was to restore the US as a nation of law and order. Giuliani is a man who would have the courage and determination to do that; yet he didn’t make it as Attorney General, which is where that would be accomplished. It may be that Trump really wanted to put him there, but Trump is pragmatist and knew the Dem’s hate Giuliani enough to filibuster Senate approval of Giuliani in that key post. (Or is Trump going to try to do something even more surprising like put Giuliani up to be his first appointment of a supreme court justice to fill Scalia’s position, even though Giuliani only has legal experience as a prosecutor — something equally unlikely to make it past Senate approval?)
No one, other than Trump, has been as vilified by the main-stream media’s fake news as much as Stephen Bannon. They have repeated the lie that Bannon, former Editor-in-Chief at Breitbart News, hates Jews while never mentioning that Breitbart’s founders were both Jews, who obviously did not find him anti-semitic when they put and kept him in charge of their publication. Founder Andrew Breitbart was a protegé of Matt Drudge, also a Jew, who often links to stories on Breitbart News.
These are major balancing facts that are ignored every time the MSM made sure to mention their two shreds of anti-semitic evidence against Bannon: 1) his ex-wife said he didn’t want his children educated with or by Jews; and 2) that a writer at Breitbart made some seemingly anti-semitic comments when he called a Jew who was a renegade … a renegade. Odd that a site with so many Jewish connections would be considered anti-semitic. The MSM actually reviles Bannon because he is so anti-establishment and oversees one of their strongest rising competitors.
Who are you going to trust most — someone’s disgruntled ex or the people who continue to work daily under Bannon’s management who now speak in favor of him out of their own volition? His Jewish staff speak positively of him, as do his own words about Jews and Israel. Breitbart is so pro-Jewish that it established an office in Jerusalem that Breitbart openly claims is dedicated to supporting Israel as a Jewish state. But you NEVER hear that on the mainstream media that is so disingenuously incensed against fake news … as it fails completely in recognizing its own fake news. Ironically, it is the alt-press that they are attacking that published all the balancing facts about Bannon.
Bannon is so central to Trump’s intent to go against the establishment that Trump took the extraordinary measure of creating an all-new cabinet position that he has indicated is co-equal to the Chief of Staff, a Chief Strategist position. Since Bannon made it to cabinet position, I’ll have more on Bannon in Part Two of this exposé, which will examine Trump’s cabinet. Clearly, you pick people to lead your government agencies who already have a strong track record of working in the direction you intend to head; so, the best way to see what direction Trump is really going to move the nation is to look carefully at the top-level team of national leaders he has assembled.