President-elect Trump’s choices for Cabinet posts are confounding naysayers who have taken his campaigning style to indicate that he will bear grudges all the way to the crack of doom.
From Washington Examiner
Here he is, with the weeks ticking down to his presidency, picking colleagues from amongst the ranks of his fiercest critics and most stalwart opponents.
During the presidential primary, Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whom Trump has now picked as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, supported one of his main rivals and also pointedly criticized him during the Republican response to President Obama’s last State of the Union address.
Without naming Trump, Haley said, “During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation.”
Trump knew he was Haley’s target and phoned “Fox & Friends” the next morning to fire back on air at what he knew was a personal rebuke. Their feud continued throughout the election, and it took Haley until a week before Election Day to announce that she would vote for Trump, though only reluctantly.
Now Trump has decided, smartly, to bring her into his government and to have her represent the U.S. in the marble halls of Turtle Bay.
Another non-supporter to get the nod from Trump is Betsy DeVos, a longtime movement conservative and supporter of Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential bid.
In March, she told the Washington Examiner, “I don’t think Donald Trump represents the Republican Party.” Later, even as she recommended that Trump talk about educational choice on the campaign trail, the former chairwoman of the Michigan GOP refrained from getting behind him.
But DeVos is to be Trump’s secretary of education, where she will push school choice, a passion of hers, and try to break the sclerotic grip of the teachers unions, which throttles the life chances of so many young people across the country, particularly among racial minorities.
Mitt Romney, who in March delivered perhaps the most scathing attack ever on Trump, calling him a phony and a fraud whose “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” is also now a front-runner for a senior Cabinet position, perhaps secretary of state.
It is heartening to see the president-elect displaying such equanimity and broad-mindedness in turning these critics into lieutenants within his administration. That same willingness to reconsider his views in the face of contradiction was on display again, when Trump met retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis and discovered that he opposed the use of waterboarding on terrorist suspects.
Mattis is front-runner to take over as secretary of defense — he would be an exciting and brilliant choice — and told Trump that he “never found [waterboarding] to be useful,” according to the New York Times. Trump said he was not necessarily changing his mind, but he found the general’s views impressive.
Perhaps more than anything, what is impressive is that Trump is genuinely considering what is useful, what works.
Liberals and conservatives alike have feared he lacks the temperament to be president — it remains to be seen — but his choice of two prominent female critics for important posts, and his consideration of another harsh critic and a blunt-talking military man who disagrees with him for two even more senior posts, are extremely good signs.
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