Weeks 7 and 8 - Tracking Trump

Introduction: Why Track Trump?

Issues (an outline of categories in weekly compilations)

Week 1 -- November 9-15, 2016

Week 2 -- November 16-22, 2016

Week 3 -- November 23-29, 2016

Week 4 -- November 30-December 6, 2016

Week 5 -- December 7-December 13, 2016

Week 6 -- December 14-December 20, 2016

Week 7 -- December 21-December 27, 2016

Week 8 -- December 28-January 3, 2017

Week 9 -- January 4-January 10, 2017

Week 10 -- January 11-January 17, 2017

Explanatory Note

Highlights and Trends

Explanatory Note

This project is designed to make available a daily update and a repository of the news and comment regarding President-Elect Donald Trump, from the time of the election to the time of the inauguration. It is organized both by weeks (this page will contain material from weeks 7 and 8) and by topics (click on "Issues," above, to see the annotated outline).

The outline of topics will mostly remain constant throughout all weeks (even if there are no entries for a given topic). (Of course, the text for any given week can also be approached with a "find" or "search" request by an individual's name or other search term.) Because of the volume of material, it is organized by two-week segments. The links, above, to "Week 1" and "Week 2," and subsequent pages of two weeks each, will take you to the material chronologically.

Highlights and Trends

You may draw different conclusions from the first five or six weeks' of President-Elect Trump's statements and decisions, but here are some of mine:

- Having won with the support of the white working class, Trump has, so far, done nothing (of which I'm aware), with his appointments or post-election proposals, speech, or actions, to serve the interests of consumers and working class Americans -- let alone appointees or proposals that would be opposed by Wall Street, corporate America, or the wealthiest 1%. (I discount the Carrier deal for reasons explained on this page.)

- Trump has, however, demonstrated an ability and inclination to flip-flop from some of his campaign rhetoric in directions that are (to me) desirable (e.g., waterboarding).

- What is becoming increasingly "huge" with every passing week is Trump's inevitable conflicts of interest (as a president engaged in negotiations with other countries in which decisions will affect the profits of his global businesses) are becoming more obvious and serious as he and his children are already blending the roles while he is President-Elect. Presidential ethics lawyers for both Bush and Obama believe the only adequate solution is for him to sell off all his properties, and turn over the proceeds to an independent trustee/wealth manager, who will invest and manage them for Trump's benefit but without his knowledge. Just turning over the management of his hotels and other properties, while he (or his children) retain the ownership and profits is not enough. Unlike shares of stock, so long as his name/brand remains on buildings around the world he will know -- and those wishing to gain favor by sending money his way will know -- what he (and/or his family) owns. Not incidentally, terrorists will also know -- raising questions of who will pay for the expensive additional security for those buildings. The seriousness of these problems is only made worse by his other major resistance to the traditions of presidential financial transparency: his refusal to make his tax returns public -- essential information even if one were inclined to undertake the futile task of assuring the absence of his personal enrichment, favoritism and financial conflicts while serving as president.

- Most appointees, so far, however bright or not, appear to have had little education, training, or experience to qualify them for the jobs they will hold; Trump's total lack of government or military administrative experience results in his lack of a network of experienced ("trustworthy and loyal") former associates that, say, a former governor might have.

- Some of his appointees appear to have been chosen, not only in spite of, but perhaps because of, a single ideological focus (often contrary to the mission of the agency they're appointed to run); and for a nation that prides itself on "civilian control of the military," his Administration is becoming a little top heavy with generals in those "civilian" positions.

- There is a residual from Trump's use of hate as a motivating force in his campaign that continues to spike the numbers of hate crimes, is dangerous, counter to any goal of "bringing America together," and that Trump has done little to discourage.

Week 7 -- December 21-27, 2016



What's Trump looking for in his appointments? Many things, perhaps, but one is a physical appearance appropriate to their playing the role: Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty, "Donald Trump is holding a government casting call. He's seeking 'the look.'" Washington Post, December 23, 2016

Appointments and Recap:

o Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President: Steve Bannon (Week 1/"Leaders")
o Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus (Week 1/"Leaders")
o National Security Adviser: Lt. General Michael T. Flynn (Week 2/"Leaders")
o Attorney General: Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (Week 2/"Leaders") [Addition: Ellen Nakashima and Sari Horwitz, "Trump’s pick for attorney general is shadowed by race and history," Washington Post, December 24, 2016 ("After coming of age in the Deep South during the darkest days of the civil rights movement, Sessions has struggled to reconcile the racial politics of his region with the changing national discourse that lifted long-standing legal barriers for minorities. Sessions’s long record in public life reveals a man who has hired African Americans for senior positions who speak highly of him, but who has been sharply criticized by civil rights groups for his positions on voting rights, same-sex marriage and gender equality.")]
o CIA Director: Congressman Michael Richard Pompeo (Week 2/"Leaders")
o Ambassador to the United Nations: Governor Nikki Haley (Week 3/"Leaders")
o Deputy National Security Adviser: K.T. McFarland (Week 3/"Leaders")
o White House Counsel: Mark Landler (Week 3/"Leaders")
o Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): Congressman Tom Price (Week 3/"Leaders")
o Secretary, Department of Education: Betsy DeVos (Week 3/"Leaders")
o Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Seema Verma
o White House Counsel: Don McGahn
o Secretary, Department of the Treasury: Steven Mnuchin (Week 4/"Leaders")
o Secretary, Department of Defense: General James Mattis (Week 4/"Leaders")
o Secretary, Department of Transportation: Elaine L. Chao (Week 4/"Leaders")
o Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development: Dr. Ben Carson (Week 4/"Leaders")
o Secretary, Department of Commerce: Wilbur Ross (Week 4/"Leaders")
o Deputy Secretary, Department of Commerce: Todd Ricketts (Week 4/"Leaders")
o Secretary, Department of Labor: Andrew Puzder (Week 5/"Leaders")
o Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt (Week 5/"Leaders")
o Administrator, Small Business Administration: Linda McMahon (Week 5/"Leaders")
o Ambassador to China: Governor Terry Branstad (Week 5/"Leaders")
o Secretary, Department of Homeland Security: General John Kelly (Week 5/"Leaders")
o Secretary, Department of State: Rex Tillerson (Week 6/"Leaders") Addition since last week: Oleg Kashin, "Rex Tillerson's Special Friend in the Kremlin," New York Times, December 22, 2016, p. A29
o Secretary, Department of Interior: Ryan Zinke (Week 6/"Leaders")
o Secretary, Department of Energy: Governor Rick Perry (Week 6/"Leaders")
o Chief of Staff, National Security Council: Keith Kellogg (Week 6/"Leaders")
o Senior Director of Strategic Communications, National Security Council: Monica Crowley (Week 6/"Leaders")

[Role of Goldman Sachs and the wealthy]
"Remember Trump’s talk about taking on the elites and the well-connected? Well, you can stick a sterling-silver fork in it. . . . [There are] at least three billionaires in Trump’s Cabinet and sub-cabinet, in addition to Trump himself: would-be education secretary Betsy DeVos, whose family worth is $5.1 billion, commerce secretary pick Wilbur Ross ($2.9 billion), and deputy commerce choice Todd Ricketts, whose family fortune is also in the billions. Harold Hamm, a possible energy secretary, is worth $15 billion. . . . [Trump] named former Goldman Sachs partner (and Hollywood executive) Steven Mnuchin to be his treasury secretary. And he’s reportedly in talks to hire Goldman’s No. 2 executive, Gary Cohn, to be his budget director. . . . Alt-right ally Stephen K. Bannon, to be Trump’s White House strategist, also used to work at Goldman." Dana Milbank, "Stick a sterling silver fork in Trump’s ‘populism,’" Washington Post, November 30, 2016.

"George W. Bush['s] . . . Cabinet in 2001 . . . dubbed . . . a team of millionaires . . . combined had an inflation-adjusted net worth of about $250 million — . . . one-tenth the wealth of Donald Trump’s nominee for commerce secretary alone. Trump is putting together what will be the wealthiest administration in modern American history . . . several multimillionaires, an heir to a family mega-fortune and two Forbes-certified billionaires, one of whose family is worth as much as industrial tycoon Andrew Mellon was when he served as treasury secretary nearly a century ago. . . . Their collective wealth in many ways defies Trump’s populist campaign promises." Jim Tankersley and Ana Swanson, "Donald Trump is assembling the richest adminiistration in modern American history," Washington Post, November 30, 2016.

And see, Landon Thomas Jr. and Alexandra Stevenson, "Trump's Economic Cabinet Picks Signal Embrace of Wall St. Elite," New York Times, December 1, 2016, p. A1.
[Leaders, Week 7] (details yet to come; Dec. 21, 2016)

Secretary of the Army: Vincent Viola Helene Cooper, "Vincent Viola, Billionaire Businessman, Is Trump's Choice to Lead the Army," New York Times, December 20, 2016, p. A15

Director, Office of Management and Budget: Mick Mulvaney Jennifer Steinhauer and Michael D. Shear, "In Mick Mulvaney, Trump Finds Anti-Establishment Leader for Budget Office," New York Times, December 18, 2016, p. A20

Ambassador to Israel: David Friedman Matthew Rosenberg, "Trump Chooses Hard-Liner as Ambassador to Israel," New York Times, December 18, 2016, p. A20

Senior Advisor to the President for Policy: Stephen Miller Elise Viebeck, "Trump names senior policy adviser, expanding White House team," Washington Post, December 13, 2016; Robert Costa, "Top Sessions aide joins Trump campaign," Washington Post, January 25, 2016

Director, National Economic Council: Gary Cohn Nathaniel Popper, "Goldman President Named Trump Adviser, Opening Door for Younger Executives," New York Times, December 13, 2016, p. B4

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway Philip Rucker, "Trump names campaign manager Kellyanne Conway as White House counselor to the president," Washington Post, December 23, 2016


Foreign and military policy announcements and governing by Tweets is problematical under any circumstances. When it involves an apparent announcement of an increasing nuclear arms race it can trigger more than just hurt feelings. Michael D. Shear and James Clanz, "Trump Says the U.S. Should Expand Its Nuclear Capacity," December 23, 2016, p. A1 ("Trump said on Thursday [Dec. 22] that the United States should greatly 'expand its nuclear capability [until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes],' appearing to suggest an end to decades of efforts by presidents of both parties to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in American defenses and strategy. . . . The vagueness of Mr. Trump’s posting made it difficult to assess its possible impact on American foreign policy, and further illustrated the potential dangers in setting policy, especially on such grave matters, in Twitter bursts and offhand remarks.")

Karen DeYoung, "In a day of tweets, Trump suggests major change on national security issues," Washiington Post, December 23, 2016 ("Before lunchtime Thursday [Dec. 22], . . . Trump said he would expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal . . . and called for the United States to veto a pending U.N. resolution that criticized Israel’s settlements policy. [He has recently also tweeted to] reconsider the arms-length U.S. relationship with Taiwan and to let China keep an underwater U.S. vessel seized by its navy. . . . [And that] this week’s Berlin terrorist attack . . . was part of a global Islamic State campaign to 'slaughter Christians' and [that] it reaffirmed the wisdom of his plans to bar Muslim immigrants. [He] suggested in another tweet that the U.S. military’s years-in-the-making plans for a new stealth fighter, Lockheed Martin’s F-35, might be reconsidered, saying he had 'asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!'”)


Here are some useful facts and insights into the Trump business, of relevance both to his style of doing business (that may, to some extent, carry over into how he will approach the presidency) and how that style of operations may create more, or fewer, conflicts of interest. Megan Twohey, Russ Buettner and Steve Eder, "Inside the Trump Organization, the Company That Has Run Trump's Big World," New York Times, December 26, 2016, p. A1 ("With extensive entanglements around the world, many packaged in a network of licensing agreements and limited liability companies, the Trump Organization poses a raft of potential conflicts of interest for a president-elect who has long exerted such control over his company that, as he told The New York Times in a recent interview, he is the one who signs the checks. 'I like to sign checks so I know what is going on,'” he explained.")

Eric Lipton and Maggie Haberman, "Denying Conflict, Trump Family Tries to Resolve Potential Problems," New York Times, December 25, 2016, p. A1 ("Realizing that his presidency could face potentially crippling questions over conflicts of interest, Donald J. Trump and his family are rushing to resolve potential controversies — like shuttering foundations and terminating development deals — even as the president-elect publicly maintains that no legal conflicts exist.")

Mark Berman and David A. Fahrenthold, "Donald Trump plans to shut down his charitable foundation, which has been under scrutiny for months," Washington Post, December 24, 2016 ("President-elect Donald Trump said he plans to shut down his charitable foundation, a decision that comes after repeated controversies over how it collected and disbursed funds.")

Hui-Yong Yu and Ben Brody, "Selling Trump’s Washington Hotel to End Conflict May Mean Loss," Bloomberg, December 20, 2016 ("President-elect Donald Trump might face a financial loss should he opt to sell his Washington hotel . . .. [He] would be on both sides of the lease . . . from the federal government. . . . [A] buyer would have to pay about $806,100 per room. It’s unclear whether the property could attract a bid that high. . . . [T]he paths to divestiture aren’t straightforward. Ethics specialists and lawmakers have pressured Trump to separate himself from the hotel, but even if he were to sell, the potential pitfalls could range from accepting a financial loss to criticism that higher bids were made to win favor with the next president.")

The Trump campaign criticized the Clintons for taking contributions to their foundation while Hillary was serving as Secretary of State. The Trump foundations create comparable problems of potential conflicts. At least Eric Trump has responded to his share of the problem: David A. Fahrenthold, "Eric Trump suspends operations of his charitable foundation," Washington Post, December 23, 2016


See, "International," above, for examples of Trump's questionable use of Tweets.

Mark Landler, "Obama, Trump and the Turf War That Has Come to Define the Transition," New York Times, December 24, 2016, p. A1 ("[W]ith Mr. Trump staking out starkly different positions from Mr. Obama on Israel and other sensitive issues, and the president acting aggressively to protect his legacy, the two have become leaders of what amounts to dueling administrations. . . . It was the latest in a rapid-fire series of Twitter posts and public statements over the last week in which Mr. Trump has weighed in on Israel, terrorism and nuclear proliferation — contradicting Mr. Obama and flouting the notion that the country can have only one president at a time.")


One of the primary constitutional roles of The Fourth Estate (i.e., the "mainstream media") is to apply its guaranteed freedom of speech to the task of providing a check on government. The acquisition and maintenance of political power, in all countries, is advanced by those in power exercising a measure of control over the media. This can take the form of ownership, threats (especially those media owned by corporations also profiting from government contracts), criticism of individual journalists and organizations, and attempts to undermine the public's trust in what the media reports. (Polls reported that CBS' Walter Cronkite was "the most trusted man in America.") The Trump organization and its supporters are using all of the above. Jeremy W. Peters, "Wielding Claims of 'Fake News,' Conservatives Take Aim at Mainstream Media," New York Times, December 26, 2016, p. A11 ("The C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the White House may all agree that Russia was behind the hacking that interfered with the election. But that was of no import to the website Breitbart News, which dismissed reports on the intelligence assessment as 'left-wing fake news.' Rush Limbaugh has diagnosed a more fundamental problem. 'The fake news is the everyday news' in the mainstream media, he said on his radio show recently.")



Abby Phillip and Abigail Hauslohner, "Trump on the future of proposed Muslim ban registry: 'You know my plans,'" Washington Post, December 23, 2016; Mark Landler, "Trump Suggests Berlin Attack Affirms His Plan to Bar Muslims," New York Times, December 22, 2016, p. A1

Abby Phillip and Abigail Hauslohner, "Trump continues to sow confusion over his plan for Muslims entering the country," Washington Post, December 23, 2016 ("Weeks before he is sworn in as president, Donald Trump and his advisers are issuing conflicting statements about the status of a signature tenet of his candidacy: restrictions on Muslims entering the United States.")


Theda Skocpol, "Trump Is Going After Health Care. Will Democrats Push Back?" New York Times, December 21, 2016, p. A27





Since the federal courts are one of the only institutions able to review and halt Trump administration over-reaching -- given Republican control of the U.S. House, Senate, and White House, plus many state legislatures and governors -- the judges Trump appoints to vacancies can effectively weaken the judiciary's ability to exercise this constitutional checking role. There has been much talk of the Supreme Court vacancy. But given that most federal court litigation ends in the district courts and courts of appeals, the 100-plus vacancies on those courts may be even more significant. Philip Rucker and Roberty Barnes, "Trump to inherit more than 100 court vacancies, plans to reshape judiciary," Washington Post, December 26, 2016 ("Trump is set to inherit an uncommon number of vacancies in the federal courts in addition to the open Supreme Court seat . . .. [An] estimated 103 judicial vacancies that President Obama is expected to hand over to Trump in the Jan. 20 transition of power . . .. The result is a multitude of openings throughout the federal circuit and district courts that will allow the new Republican president to quickly make a wide array of lifetime appointments. State gun control laws, abortion restrictions, voter laws, anti-discrimination measures and immigrant issues are all matters that are increasingly heard by federal judges and will be influenced by the new composition of the courts. Trump has vowed to choose ideologues in the mold of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon has activists on the right giddy.")

Week 8 -- December 28-2016-January 3, 2017



Robert Pear, "Trump's Health Secretary Pick Leaves Nation's Doctors Divided," New York Times, December 27, 2016, p. A1

Editorial, "How a Budget Chief Can Wreak Havoc," New York Times, December 27, 2016, p. A18

Ed O'Keefe, "Here are the eight Trump Cabinet picks Democrats plan to target," Washington Post, January 2, 2017

Appointments Recap:


There are many concerning aspects to Trump's associations with Russia -- from his son's acknowledgement of the disproportionate number of sales to Russians, to Trump's nomination of the American with possibly the closest ties to Putin to be his Secretary of State, Trump's effusive praise of Putin, and Trump's efforts to challenge the intelligence community's conclusions regarding Putin's efforts to get Trump elected and otherwise minimize the significance of the Russian hacking the Clinton campaign's documents. David E. Sanger, "Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking," New York Times, December 30, 2016, p. A1 ("T]he sweeping actions announced by the White House, the Treasury, the State Department and intelligence agencies on Thursday [Dec. 29] amount to the strongest American response yet to a state-sponsored cyberattack. They also appeared intended to box in President-elect Trump, who will now have to decide whether to lift the sanctions on Russian intelligence agencies when he takes office next month. . . . Trump responded to the Russian sanctions late Thursday [Dec. 29] by reiterating a call to 'move on.' But he pledged to meet with intelligence officials, who have concluded that the Russian hacking was an attempt to tip the election to Mr. Trump.")

Neil MacFarquhar, "Vladimir Putin Won't Expel U.S. Diplomats as Russian Foreign Minister Urged," New York Times, December 31, 2016, p. A1 ("President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia announced Friday that he would not retaliate against President Obama’s decision to expel Russian diplomats and impose new sanctions — only hours after his foreign minister recommended doing just that.")

David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt and Michael R. Gordon, "Trump Gets an Opening from Russia, but the Path Is Risky," New York Times, New York Times, December 31, 2016, p. A1 ("Trump, who has pledged to reset relations with Russia, may have been tossed a lifeline by President Vladimir V. Putin on Friday [Dec. 30]. The Russian leader, skilled at keeping several steps ahead of his adversaries, announced that he would not retaliate against the Obama administration for imposing new sanctions and expelling Russian diplomats from the United States. That clears the way for Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin to declare that they are starting anew — just what both men have publicly called for.")

"By Friday afternoon [Dec. 30], Mr. Trump took to Twitter to embrace Mr. Putin. ["Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!" Dec. 30, 1:41 PM] For effect, Mr. Trump “pinned” the post to the top of his Twitter feed, ensuring that it will remain the first message seen on his page. In a rapid demonstration of digital glasnost, within minutes the Russian Embassy in Washington had retweeted it." David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt and Michael R. Gordon, "Trump Gets an Opening from Russia, but the Path Is Risky," New York Times, New York Times, December 31, 2016, p. A1

Karen DeYoung and David Filipov, "Trump and Putin: A relationship where mutual admiration is headed toward reality," Washington Post, December 31, 2016 ("For much of this year, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have been engaged in a long-distance courtship. They have said kind things about each other in public and separately expressed visions of a mutually agreeable future. . . . But as with all such arms-length pairings, the looming question is whether Trump and Putin will find fulfillment or disappointment once face-to-face reality strikes.")

Not surprisingly, Russian hacking is not limited to political mischief on Trump's behalf. The next war not only will be, it already is, cyberwarfare. Woody Guthrie wrote, "some men rob you with a six gun, others rob you with a fountain pen." The Russians could shut down our country by bombing our electric generating plants, pipelines, and other essential infrastructure; or, they could more cleanly, simply, and cheaply just bring them to a crashing halt by hacking them with malware. We already have this example: Juliet Eilperin and Adam Entous,"Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical grid security, officials say," Washington Post, December 31, 2016 ("A code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont utility, according to U.S. officials. While the Russians did not actively use the code to disrupt operations . . . the discovery underscores the vulnerabilities of the nation’s electrical grid. And it raises fears in the U.S. government that Russian government hackers are actively trying to penetrate the grid to carry out potential attacks.")

Andrew E. Kramer, "How Russia Recruited Elite Hackers for Its Cyberwar," New York Times, December 30, 2016, p. A1 ("While much about Russia’s cyberwarfare program is shrouded in secrecy, details of the government’s effort to recruit programmers in recent years — whether professionals . . ., college students, or even criminals — are shedding some light on the Kremlin’s plan to create elite teams of computer hackers.")


Trump's potential conflicts of interest also involve his children -- not only the businesses and foundations that he and they have (offering the opportunity to influence peddlers to indirectly affect policy by doing business, and making contributions, to the Trumps -- but conflicts with nepotism laws as well. Norman Eisen and Richard W. Painter, "Can Donald Trump Hire Ivanka Trump?" New York Times, December 29, 2016, p. 23 ("Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, are said to be interested in working in the White House — and the president-elect is looking for a way to have them. . . . We and others have expressed concerns about the nepotism [now sometimes a violation of federal law] inherent in this arrangement when so many people are qualified to serve.")

Simon Denyer and Jonathan O'Connell, "Trump Hotels has had its eye on China — but the door hasn’t opened," Washington Post, December 26, 2016 ("Although negotiations have yet to bear fruit, Trump Hotels has made confident predictions this year about opening 20 or 30 luxury hotels in China. It is an ambition that would involve the company in direct negotiations with a Communist Party that the president-elect professes to fundamentally distrust.")

The conflicts arising from his hotels and other physical property in other countries involve economic benefits from governments and those seeking favor, but there are also his intellectual properties -- such as the Chinese government's willingness to enforce, or ignore, laws designed to protect his trademark, "Trump." Simon Denyer, "Donald Trump is fighting for his trademark in China, home of Trump toilets and Trump condoms," Washington Post, December 28, 2016 ("[D]ozens of Chinese people . . . have tried to trademark the Trump name in China . . .. Many have been successful. Today, there are trademarks registered for Trump condoms, Trump toilets, Trump pesticide and Trump paint, none bearing any direct business relation to the next U.S. president. [Trump] is fighting back, and . . . [a]s he becomes a household name in China, he seems to be having more success.")

Of course, conflicts need not always involve wealth enhancement. They can arise whenever a public official's decisions are driven by considerations other than what is in the best public interest -- such as encouraging the doing of favors for "friends," what this New York Times editorial puts in the category of "crony capitalism." Editorial, "Why Corporations Are Helping Donald Trump Lie About Jobs," New York Times, January 2, 2017, p. A14 ("It’s easy to see why SoftBank and Sprint might want to help Mr. Trump take credit for creating jobs. SoftBank’s chief executive, Masayoshi Son, wants the Department of Justice [and FCC] to allow a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. In 2014 regulators . . . made clear . . . they would not approve such a transaction because it would . . . greatly [reduce] competition in a concentrated industry. Mr. Son sees a new opening for his deal in Mr. Trump . . .. This is crony capitalism, with potentially devastating consequences. If [Trump's appointees] wave through a Sprint/T-Mobile merger, he will do lasting damage to the economy . . .. Individuals and businesses will find wireless service costs a lot more when they have only Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile/Sprint to choose from. In addition, a combined Sprint and T-Mobile would inevitably cut thousands of jobs as executives merge the companies’ networks, stores, billing systems, customer service departments and so on.")


Included within the range of concerns about Trump's temperament (such as filing lawsuits, or firing off stinging attacks, against those who have reported things he doesn't like, no matter how factual), is his willingness to ignore matters of protocol and presidential norms (such as his refusal to reveal his tax returns, or put all his assets in a truly "blind trust"). This has gone so far as his speech and actions prior to his inauguration, acting as if he is already the president. Ruth Marcus, "Memo to Trump: There can be only one president at a time," Washington Post, December 28, 2016 ("One of the hallmarks of our democratic system is . . . that the incoming president, especially in the arena of foreign policy, takes care not to trespass on the prerogatives of the incumbent. . . . President-elect Donald Trump must have missed this memo. Not bothering to wait for the constitutionally mandated handover, Trump has inserted himself into policymaking, from bullying U.S. manufacturers to barging into foreign affairs, including shaking up U.S.-China policy and intruding into the Obama administration’s dealings with Israel at the United Nations.")

Some of Trump's personality characteristics (or disorders) are merely dysfunctional, inappropriate, boorish, and internationally embarrassing. However, his seeming inability to distinguish between "The Presidency" and the person who happens to be the president at any given time, his "right" to simply ignore past procedures and norms, can be dangerous for the American people and their government. An example is his casual attitude regarding respect for the intelligence community he will need to rely upon, and his rejection of intelligence briefings, because he is, as he says, a "smart person." To help understand the "President's Daily Brief" in a context of other presidential sources of information and the value past presidents have found in the PDB, the following article is instructive: David Priess, "Five myths about the President’s Daily Brief," Washington Post, December 30, 2016.


Manny Fernandez, "An Oklahoma Newspaper Endorsed Clinton. It Hasn't Been Forgiven." New York Times, December 27, 2016, p. A11 ("The News & Eagle, with a circulation of 10,000, lost 162 subscribers who canceled the paper. Eleven advertisers pulled their ads, including a funeral home that had a sizable account. Someone stuck a “Crooked Hillary” bumper sticker on the glass doors of the paper’s downtown office. A man left a late-night message on the publisher’s voice mail, expressing his hope that readers would deliver, to put it delicately, a burning sack of steaming excrement to the paper.")

The following story contains details of Trump's handling of his foundation and its funds, but is included here because of what it reveals about the Trump organization's practices in dealing with the media. David A. Fahrenthold, "David Fahrenthold tells the behind-the-scenes story of his year covering Trump," Washington Post, December 30, 2016.


Manny Fernandez, "An Oklahoma Newspaper Endorsed Clinton. It Hasn't Been Forgiven." New York Times, December 27, 2016, p. A11 ("The News & Eagle, with a circulation of 10,000, lost 162 subscribers who canceled the paper. Eleven advertisers pulled their ads, including a funeral home that had a sizable account. Someone stuck a “Crooked Hillary” bumper sticker on the glass doors of the paper’s downtown office. A man left a late-night message on the publisher’s voice mail, expressing his hope that readers would deliver, to put it delicately, a burning sack of steaming excrement to the paper.")



Robert Pear, "Trump's Health Secretary Pick Leaves Nation's Doctors Divided," New York Times, December 27, 2016, p. A1




Emma Brown and Mandy McLaren, "How Indiana’s school voucher program soared, and what it says about education in the Trump era," Washington Post, December 26, 2016 ("The [Indiana] voucher program, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing, serves more than 32,000 children and provides an early glimpse of what education policy could look like in Donald Trump’s presidency. . . . [O]riginally promoted . . . as a way to make good on America’s promise of equal opportunity . . . more than half of the state’s voucher recipients have never attended Indiana public schools, meaning that taxpayers are now covering private and religious school tuition for children whose parents had previously footed that bill . . . . wealthier families . . . earning up to $90,000 . . ..")

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