It seems like just yesterday we were all watching the election returns, refreshing various political maps, hoping the red blotches spreading across America were an error.
It turns out it was actually a month ago. Time flies when you’re riddled with crippling anxiety over the direction of the country.
Donald Trump isn’t even in power yet, but the moves he has made in the month since the election have painted a frightening portrait of the America he appears to be trying to create—one controlled by a cabal of moneyed interests, plagued by racist hate crimes and terrorized by a Twitter account. Here’s a brief overview of the damage so far.
There have been too many hate crimes against groups that did not support Trump in the days since the election to list. The attacks range from racist graffiti scrawled on the side of a black church to open assaults on Muslims in public.
A report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center found 867 hate crime incidents in just the first ten days after Election Day. And these aren’t just red states. The NYPD says that it’s seen a huge surge in bias attacks following Trump’s win as well.
At the same time, people who are openly white supremacist have been empowered to take their toxic ideology public. Richard Spencer, one of the founders of the white supremacist so-called “alt-right” movement, has been the subject of glowing media profiles about his wardrobe and hair even as videos showed him using Nazi vocabulary and his supporters making Nazi salutes.
The president-elect has drawn a hard line against these attacks, telling his supporters to “stop it” during an interview on 60 Minutes. That’s it.
After promising to “drain the swamp,” Trump’s transition team has come up with a renegade group of billionaire businessmen, retired generals and career Republican politicians to lead this supposedly corruption-free government.
Trump’s announced appointees include:
- Jeff Sessions for Attorney General: A long-time Republican senator whose nomination to a federal judgeship in the 1980s was blocked thanks to multiple accusations of racism.
- Reince Preibus for chief of staff: The former Republican National Committee chairman.
- Steve Bannon for chief strategist: The chairman of far-right media outlet Breitbart who has been accused of white supremacist leanings. (He says he’s just an “economic nationalist.”)
- James Mattis for Defense Secretary: A retired Marine Corps general nicknamed “Mad Dog.”
- Michael Flynn for national security adviser: A retired army general who has helped spread conspiracy theories on Twitter and whose son was fired from the Trump transition team for doing the same.
- Steven Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary: A career Wall Street insider who helped foreclose on thousands of homes in the late 2000s.
- Wilbur Ross for Commerce Secretary: A billionaire who has also spent his entire career on Wall Street.
- Andrew Pudzer for Labor Secretary: A fast-food executive who opposes the minimum wage and a slew of other worker protections.
- Tom Price for Health and Human Services Secretary: a six term GOP congressman who wants to gut Obamacare.
- Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development Secretary: a former doctor and failed presidential candidate with no experience overseeing housing, who a top aide previously said did not want a cabinet position as he might “cripple the presidency.”
- Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary, who has held cabinet positions for every Republican president going back to Reagan.
- Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary: a supporter of for-profit charter schools and an opponent of LGBTQ people.
- John Kelly for Homeland Security Secretary: a retired Marine Corps general.
- Nikki Haley for U.N. ambassador: a governor with no diplomatic experience.
- Scott Pruitt for EPA administrator: a state attorney general who has previously sued the EPA, denies the existence of climate change and is close with the fossil fuels industry.
- Linda McMahon for head of the Small Business Administration: The wife of the head of WWE owner Vince McMahon and a failed Senate candidate.
Trump has wasted little time in using his position to empower and potentially enrich his family and businesses.
It was less than a week after the election that CBS reported the Trump transition team had requested national security clearances for his children. These are the same people who are reportedly going to be running the Trump Organization in a “blind trust” while Trump serves his term. The Trump team now denies this request ever happened. Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump is moving to Washington D.C. and is sitting in on meetings with important world leaders.
Then there are Trump’s calls to those foreign leaders. His development plans in Argentina were greenlit after a phone call with Argentina’s president. And his unprecedented phone call to the president of Taiwan came shortly after reports that the Trump Organization was looking into expanding in that country. Trump has possible financial conflicts of interest in countries across the globe, but, since he won’t show us his taxes, we can’t know for sure what those conflicts are.
Trump has yet to name a secretary of state. At this rate, he might as well just name one of his company’s business development executives.
I guess that last one doesn’t count as a subtweet, since he did tag the New York Times. That’s something they can brag about to all their new subscribers.
And remember: this is all in just one month. Buckle up, folks.