For a man who’s vowed to unite Americans, President-elect Donald Trump seems to be trying his hardest to pit them against one another. A particularly vicious election cycle has left the country split right down the middle, and Trump’s current picks for his cabinet are only confirming the worst of our fears.
No, the wall probably isn’t going to happen, and it’s going to take an uprooting of the Constitution to ban all Muslims from entering the country, but Trump’s cartoonishly draconian immigration policies have only found new roots in people like Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, whom Trump is currently pushing as the new attorney general.
Putting aside the alleged racially charged comments that barred Sessions from finding a spot in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in 1986, the Sessions of the present day has proven himself more than eager to oppose just about every form of immigration, even legal ones such as the H1-B visas that allow non-American specialists in fields such as medicine, science and engineering to temporarily find work in American companies.
Worse is Trump’s current choice for senior counselor and chief strategist: Stephen Bannon, better known as one of the minds behind Breitbart News. Bannon is a culmination of every horrid stereotype surrounding conservative Republicans, from his gleeful screeds against “trannies” and “the gays” to his unshaking contempt for Islam, Judaism and even the most moderate of movements for racial and gender equality.
Trump has nominated a few more reasonable voices. Former Marine General James Mattis, one of Trump’s preferred choices for secretary of defense, is wary of strengthening ties with Russia and separating from NATO, though his desire to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal shows that he can’t stray far from Trump’s ideals.
Potential chief of staff Reince Priebus, a chairman of the Republican National Committee, has openly criticized some of Trump’s more extreme stances. But his apparent hesitancy to act as more than a half-hearted Trump apologist leaves us calling his leadership skills into question.
For all his promises, Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” campaign seems to be dead in the water. Building a cabinet based on political loyalty will only leave Trump with an army of Yes Men. And for a candidate whose campaign promises changed depending on the time of day, we worry for the next four years.
A candidate who sold himself on his lack of political experience should be surrounded by people who have Americans’ best interests at heart. Those we have now will only serve to normalize the fear-mongering and unabashed intolerance saturating Trump’s campaign.