Politics December 12, 2016: Rick Perry front runner for Trump’s Energy Secretary

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Rick Perry front runner for Trump’s Energy Secretary

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Former Texas Governor and 2012 and 2016 GOP candidate Rick Perry is President-Elect Donald Trump’s front runner for the Secretary of Energy post in his cabinet. On Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, Bloomberg News reported that Perry is ahead of the pack on Trump’s shortlist for the post. This will be the first time a scientist is not heading the department responsible for “the safe handling of nuclear material and on emerging energy technologies.”

Bloomberg also noted that Democratic Senators Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and “Dallas investor and former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee” Ray Washburne are also under consideration. The Hill notes that Trump is also considering Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) for the post.

Trump is still meeting with candidates for the job. On Saturday, the president-elect met with Perry and Washburne while in Baltimore for the Army-Navy football game. Last week he met with Heitkamp at Trump Tower and intended to meet Manchin on Monday. Trump also is meeting again with Perry on Monday, Dec. 12. Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller confirmed a CBS News report about a second meeting. The meeting was set up after Trump and Perry’s Saturday meeting.

Ironically, Perry’s infamous oops moment from the 2012 campaign had to with the Energy Department. When asked in a 2011 GOP primary debate about the three departments he wants to eliminate as president, Perry forgot that he wanted to obliterate the Energy Department saying, “The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.” That moment was his downfall. In 2016, early on he criticized Trump but then endorsed his candidacy, even looking to be his running-mate. Perry has not been shy about selling himself to be a part of the Trump administration cabinet.

Perry is on the board of Energy Transfer Partners LP the company building the North Dakota oil pipeline. According to Bloomberg Trump promised to increase “domestic oil, gas, and coal production” by “rescinding “job-killing” rules and environmental regulations.” Perry was the longest running Texas Governor, the state is central to American energy production, it “is the largest U.S. pumper of crude oil and home to two of the country’s largest petroleum refiners.”

The Energy Department is also central when it comes to nuclear weapons, “advocating nonproliferation, and promoting nuclear security worldwide.” Trump is planning to overhaul the Iran Nuclear Deal, and the next Energy Secretary will play a significant role in the negotiations.

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms Goodman is an expert in presidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.

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Politics November 28, 2016: Trump adds women to his cabinet with DeVos, Haley and McFarland

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Trump adds women to his cabinet with DeVos, Haley and McFarland

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

President-elect Donald Trump is finally adding some women to his cabinet. On Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 23, 2016, Trump nominated “charter school advocate and businesswoman” Betsy DeVos for education secretary. Earlier in the day, Trump named South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C. as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Both positions need to be confirmed by the Senate. On Friday, Nov. 25, Trump announced that he is naming Fox News analyst KT McFarland as his deputy national security advisor and his lawyer throughout the campaign and transition Don McGahn as assistant to the president and White House counsel. Trump’s transition team made the announcement as the president-elect is spending the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, without giving the press access.

Trump met with the “billionaire donor and conservative activist” at his new Jersey Golf Club over last weekend as part of his marathon interviews to fill cabinet and upper-level White House posts. Trump praised DeVos in his statement announcing his decision, saying, “Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate. Under her leadership, we will reform the US education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families.”

DeVos also commented in the Trump Transition’s official statement, “I am honored to accept this responsibility to work with the President-elect on his vision to make American education great again. The status quo in education is not acceptable. Together, we can work to make transformational change that ensures every student in America has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential.”

DeVos is facing almost immediate criticism from the nation’s largest teacher’s union, The National Education Association, for supporting school vouchers and charter schools. While Conservative are criticizing her involvement with a group that supports Common Core education standards, which Trump vowed to obliterate. According to CNN “DeVos chairs the American Federation for Children,” which “promotes charter school education,” and she “also served on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, “ a pro-Common Core group. DeVos quickly distanced herself, saying in a website post “Have organizations that I have been a part of supported Common Core? Of course. But that’s not my position.”

Earlier in the day, Trump picked a less controversial pick for the U.S. ambassador to the UN in choosing Haley; however, Haley has a controversial past with the president-elect. Haley is a second-generation American born to Indian parents and a rising star in the Republican Party. Haley supported Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the primary and was a frequent critic of Trump immigration policies, including building a wall on the Mexican border and the Muslim ban. Haley even criticized Trump in her 2016 State of the Union response calling him one of “angriest voices” that “throw stones.” Now, Trump seems to want to reach out to some of his biggest critics in the Republican Party and consider them for cabinet posts including 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney for Secretary of State.

In the official statement, Haley explained why she chose to accept Trump’s offer. Haley said, “When the President believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed. The second is a satisfaction with all that we have achieved in our state in the last six years and the knowledge that we are on a very strong footing.” Haley will remain the South Carolina’s governor until the Senate confirms her. Continuing Haley said, “We still have much to do in South Carolina, and my commitment to the people of our state will always remain unbreakable, both while I continue to hold this office, and thereafter.”

Trump in his official transition statement announcing the appointments commended McFarland, “I am proud that KT has once again decided to serve our country and join my national security team. She has tremendous experience and innate talent that will complement the fantastic team we are assembling, which is crucial because nothing is more important than keeping our people safe.” Trump’s choice for national security advisor, former Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn also praised his deputy in a tweet on Friday, writing, “So proud & honored to have KT McFarland as part of our National Security team. She will help us #MAGA.”

Kathleen Troia McFarland ran in the 2006 Republican primary for a Senate seat in New York. McFarland is a Fox News national security analyst. She formerly was “an aide in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan,” and she was an adviser to Henry Kissinger on the National Security Council.

McGahn’s addition to the White House staff is even more significant, as he has been with Trump through the campaign and transition, and will be responsible for Trump handing over his business empire to his children and ensure there is no conflict of interest. McGahn currently is a partner at the Jones Day law firm and previously served as the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, where he “loosened regulations on campaign finance.”

President-elect Trump praised his lawyer profusely in his statement announcing his appointment. Trump expressed, “Don has a brilliant legal mind, excellent character and a deep understanding of constitutional law. He will play a critical role in our administration, and I am grateful that he is willing to serve our country at such a high-level capacity.”

Trump is returning Monday, Nov. 28 to New York and will continue meeting with another eight possible candidates for his cabinet. Trump is still in limbo in deciding whom he will choose for the coveted Secretary of State slot. His transition team is torn between his two major candidates, Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and 2012 GOP nominee and Trump critic Mitt Romney, with Giuliani being his team ‘s favorite because of his loyalty and views on foreign policy.

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms Goodman is an expert inpresidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.

Politics November 20, 2016: Trump causes controversy naming Sessions, Flynn and Pompeo to Cabinet

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Trump causes controversy naming Sessions, Flynn and Pompeo to Cabinet

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

President-elect Donald Trump is beginning to fill up his cabinet, adding three more to the two positions he has already filled. On Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, Trump named retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his National Security Adviser according to sources. On Friday, Nov. 18, Trump added to his cabinet by naming Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, and Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA Director. Sessions nomination is causing the most controversy because he had been accused of racist comments against African Americans that led him not to be confirmed for a circuit judgeship in 1986 when the President Ronald Reagan nominated him. Flynn is also causing a stir, for his racist comments against Muslims.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the Trump transition team officially released a statementannouncing President-elect Trump decisions on those appointments. That included statements by the president-elect and Sessions, Flynn and Pompeo. Sessions is a member of Senate Judiciary Committee member, Flynn is “a retired United States Army Lieutenant General and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency,” while Pompeo is currently a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Sessions was an early contender for a top cabinet post since he was the first Senator to endorse Trump back in February and since then has been a loyal advisor to Trump during the campaign on immigration and Supreme Court nominations. Sessions is facing criticism for remarks that haunted his 1986 confirmation hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee for the position of U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Alabama. Then Sessions was accused of saying the ACLU and NAACP were “un-American” and he used racially derogatory remarks to African American employees. In 1986, Sessions responded, “I am not a racist. I am not insensitive to blacks. I have supported civil rights activity in my state. I have done my job with integrity, equality, and fairness for all.”

Trump campaign manager defended Sessions against the old allegations. Conway told CNN, “We’re aware of what was said and done 30 some years ago and we’re also aware of the incredible career Jeff Sessions has had throughout his life… I think if anyone had a problem with his record they would have run against him. Senator Sessions would be qualified for any number of positions.” Senate Democrats including new minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are against Sessions being confirmed, but also one Republican, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul opposes his nomination.

Flynn is a registered Democrat, who criticized President Barack Obama’s foreign policy after leaving his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which he held from 2012 to 2014. Flynn also has been a loyal Trump advisor and campaign surrogate, especially on issues regarding national security, and on Trump’s Muslim ban that morphed into a ban on immigrants terrorist countries. His views and comments, however, towards Muslims, are problematic and are being criticized.

In February, Flynn tweeted, that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” Flynn revealed in a New York Post op-ed that “the stand I took on radical Islam,” was the real reason for his departure from DIA. Flynn later wrote a book “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win The Global War Against Radical Islam And Its Allies” which was released earlier this year outlining his views on the “global war against radical Islam.” Flynn is also a board member on ACT for America considered “the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.” American Muslim groups are outraged at Trump’s appointment of Flynn. The position of National Security Advisor, however, does not require Senate confirmation.

Pompeo is the least controversial of Trump’s three appointments, but he is still facing opposition from Sen. Paul. Rep. Pompeo was a sharp “critic of President Obama’s foreign policy including the Iran deal” and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her term as Secretary of State. Pompeo was not an early Trump supporter as his other early picks; Pompeo first endorsed Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the primary. Pompeo has served three terms in the House and is a member of the House Energy Committee and the Intelligence Committee and a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Pompeo co-wrote a supplement to the report on the way the Obama Administration and Clinton as Secretary of State dealt with the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Previously, Trump named Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus his chief of staff and former Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon his chief strategist and senior counselor, both positions do not require Senate confirmations. Trump has spent all week and weekend meeting with prospective candidates for top White House and Cabinet posts, but he still is at the at the start of filling in these positions, with only two months to spare before Inauguration Day.

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms Goodman is an expert inpresidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.

Politics November 13, 2016: Trump begins cabinet picks names RNC chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff

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Trump begins cabinet picks names RNC chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

The Trump administration is coming together as President-elect Donald Trump announced his first cabinet picks on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 13, 2016. As speculated Trump named Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will serve as White House Chief of Staff and Trump for President CEO Stephen K. Bannon will serve as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President. The Congressional Republicans are lauding Trump’s choice of appointing Priebus.

President-elect Trump issued a statement on his transition website announcing the appointmentsTrump expressed, “I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country. Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory. Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again.”

Bannon also commented in the statement, saying, “I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to work with Reince in driving the agenda of the Trump Administration. We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda.”

While Priebus also expressed gratitude for his appointment saying, “It is truly an honor to join President-elect Trump in the White House as his Chief of Staff. I am very grateful to the President-elect for this opportunity to serve him and this nation as we work to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism. He will be a great President for all Americans.”

The statement explained that Bannon and Priebus are working as equal partners, “Bannon and Priebus will continue the effective leadership team they formed during the campaign, working as equal partners to transform the federal government, making it much more efficient, effective and productive.” They made the arrangement, as they would be working with different “constituencies” in running the White House.

Bannon is a former Navy officer and was Goldman Sachs investment banker, but recently headed conservative publication Breitbart News. He joined the Trump campaign in August and many in the feared that put Trump more to the right alienating himself from mainstream Republican and independent voters. Instead, Bannon helped keep Trump on message and disciplined on the campaign trail. Still, the party establishment did not want Bannon in the role of chief of staff, viewing him as still too controversial.

Both Priebus and Bannon were in the running for the position of chief of staff. Priebus stood by Trump throughout the campaign even through Trump’s scandals and the 2005 lewd tape revelation that caused many Republicans to bolt, distance themselves and rescind their endorsements. By the end, Priebus was on the campaign trail for the then-Republican nominee. During the campaign, Priebus served as a liaison to Trump and the establishment in the party. Priebus is one of the longest running Republican Party Chairman and is popular with all factions of the party.

Priebus was the choice of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the role, and they let Trump know it when they met with on Thursday, Nov. 10. Ryan’s spokesman Doug Andres commented after the announcement, indicating “The speaker is very happy for his friend and ready to get to work.” Priebus negotiated Ryan’s original endorsement of the Trump; he has a longtime relationship with Ryan from his time as Chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Trump is known for rewarding loyalty, and both Priebus and Bannon have been loyal and instrumental to his election. The role of chief of staff sets the tone of the White House and administration and Trump by choosing Priebus shows that will be inclusive to all Republicans and that Trump’s presidency might far more moderate than his campaign rhetoric.

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms Goodman is an expert inpresidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.

Politics May 8, 2015: Obama congratulates Netanyahu after he secures 61-seat coalition government

Obama congratulates Netanyahu after he secures 61-seat coalition government

May 8, 2015

With two hours left before the deadline to form a coalition on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister and Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu was able to secure a razor narrow 61-seat coalition out of 120 Knesset…

Politics December 3, 2014: Israeli Knesset votes sets election date after Netanyahu fires cabinet minister

Israeli Knesset votes sets election date after Netanyahu fires cabinet ministers

December 3, 2014, 4:10 PM MST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau called elections after throwing out two cabinet members, the Knesset voted to dissolve and elections are set for March 15, 2015, Dec. 3, 2014
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau called elections after throwing out two cabinet members, the Knesset voted to dissolve and elections are set for March 15, 2015, Dec. 3, 2014
Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images