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Trump Presidency Cabinet Through An Environmental Lens

DONALD Trump has until January to select his cabinet and make senior appointments before he enters the White House as President of the United States.

Overall his picks represent the lords of capitalism which have nothing in common with the natural world and view all assets as profit making opportunities.

This post will be continually updated as new people are picked and finalized. If you have info to share please don’t hesitate to add to comments!

Picks so far:

  1. Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson (). Resigning CEO of Exxon-Mobile which has funded climate denying science the same way the tobacco company funded the smoking doesn’t cause cancer campaign but then in the 2000s he changed tunes and said he believed in climate change and carbon taxing which is generally believed to have been a PR stunt.
  2. Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus (). Climate change quote: “Priebus confirmed Trump wasn’t being forthright with the Times, telling Wallace, “As far as this issue on climate change — the only thing he [Trump] was saying after being asked a few questions about it is, look, he’ll have an open mind about it but he has his default position, which most of it is a bunch of bunk, but he’ll have an open mind and listen to people.”  Source:
  3. Secretary of the Treasury: Steve Mnuchin (53)  He comes from a family of Goldman Sachs elite.  Goldman Sachs publicly admits it believes in climate change and that something needs to be done but the general consensus among activists is that capitalism is in conflict with causes for the natural world unless it makes the bank profitable.
  4. Secretary of Defense: General James Mattis (). Also referred to as Mad Dog and has said, “”It’s fun to shoot some people, you know, it’s a hell of a hoot.”  War is never good for Nature or humans but at least, supposedly the General believes in climate change – “US defence secretary candidate James Mattis understands the relationship between climate change and global security, according to a longtime military colleague.”  Source: 
  5. Attorney General: Jeff Sessions (). He is “offended by the views of climate scientists. Quote in response to Boxer who informed him of scientific consensus: Sessions: Madam Chairman, I am offended by that, I’m offended by that — I didn’t say anything about the scientists. I said the data shows [sic] it is not warming to the degree that a lot of people predicted, not close to that much…
  6. Secretary of the Interior,  Ryan Zinke (55). He has weakened controls on air and water pollution in national parks, lifted ban on crude oil exports, undermined protections for endangered species, de-fund efforts to clean up Chesapeake Bay, weakened the Antiquities Act by limiting the president’s ability to design new national monuments. Conservation Voters gave Zinke a bottom-of-thebarrel 3% score for his environmental record.  Quote: Zinke said “The climate is changing, I don’t think you can deny that. But climate has always changed” continuing that “I don’t think there’s any question that man has had an influence” but that “what that influence is, exactly, is still under scrutiny.” And in October 2014, Zinke said “It’s not a hoax, but it’s not proven science either…”    Source
  7. Secretary of Agriculture,
  8. Secretary of Commerce: Wilbur Ross (79). Held a lengthy career at Rothschild Inc.  Strong on privatization. Big player in fossil fuel industry. Quote: Ross also talked about easy steps to reduce climate change — which Trump has called a Chinese hoax — urging more investment in rail. “We say we want to wean ourselves off foreign oil, but we have subsidized the growing of corn for ethanol purposes.” (Think Progress)
  9. Secretary of Labor: Andy Puzder ().  He has been called a baffling and cruel choice for this position.  Is he a fast food CEO (Carl’s Jr & Hardees) and one who doesn’t give a crap about his laborers with a history of pushing back on fair wages. Fast food equates to burgers and industrial beef is one of the worst culprits in the growing green house gas problem.  He also has an alleged history of spousal abuse.  Some choice for making America Great Again!
  10. Secretary of Health and Human Services: Tom Price
  11. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Ben Carson (65). “Despite Carson’s profession, which requires some level of respect for science, he rejects the science on climate change” (Ecowatch). Quote: “There’s always going to be either cooling or warming going on. As far as I’m concerned, that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that we have an obligation and a responsibility to protect our environment.”
  12. Secretary of Transportation: Elaine Chao
  13. Secretary of Energy: Rick Perry (). In 2011 he wanted the Dept of Energy scrapped, does that mean he’ll work himself out of a job?  He is a fossil fuel loving climate denier like so many others in Trump’s cabinet. Climate change quote: “A substantial number of scientists [have] manipulated data to keep the money rolling in,” New Hampshire Union Leader editorial page editor Drew Cline quoted Perry saying on the stump in a tweet. Before that, Cline quoted Perry saying, “I do believe the issue of global warming has been politicized.”
  14. Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos (). She is a product of private schools with little experience in public schools.  DeVos and her husband, Dick, are billionaires (Amway) with a strong belief in Christianity—she once stated that school choice will “advance God’s kingdom.” They’ve argued public schools have “displaced” the church in American life.  The church and nature don’t have a good history together as all of God’s books demand domination over all creatures and lands as they are gifts to us to do with as please. Athough she has personal investments in clean energy, ” DeVos has donated to the political campaigns of a number of Republican senators and representatives who deny climate change and have voted on an array of bills that would increase offshore oil drilling, end fuel efficiency standards and bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. ” Source:
  15. Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  16. Secretary of Homeland Security: John F Kelly (66)  “He’s known for is his open support of force-feeding of inmates at Guantanamo Bay and his rebuke of when human rights organizations and civil rights organizations have called him on that, he’s basically laughed them off and rebuked them and called their claims ridiculous, that that kind of thing is just not happening at Guantanamo Bay. His views are draconian with regard to immigration and controlling people.  This could easily be extrapolated to views not favorable for the environment or climate.   Source: Real News


  • Vice President: Mike Pence (). He’s all over the place on climate change – he denies it then he says it’s probably true but there’s nothing that can be done about it. He believes in “clean coal” technology and that anything done to help the environment is KILLING JOBS.   In his debate we heard him say: “Well, look, there’s no question that the activities that take place in this country and in countries around the world have some impact on the environment and some impact on climate.”
  • Chief Strategists: Stephen Bannon (62). He has called government support of alternative energy “madness.” His conservative website, Breitbart News, relentlessly pursues the idea that global warming is an invention of activists, university researchers and renewable energy industry profiteers determined to assert global governance for their own gain.”Pure scum” is how Breitbart News describes the alleged schemers, and the site suggested that the Vatican had been taken over by Marxists after Pope Francis urged the world to protect the environment and slow climate change. Bannon has cited a faked TIME magazine cover, purportedly from the 1970s, as evidence that scientists once thought the world was cooling.  Source
  • National Security Adviser: General Mike Flynn (57)
  • CIA Chief: Mike Pompeo (). Pompeo is among the most the outspoken critics of climate change legislation. He has expressed skepticism over the science that climate change is caused by humans, saying in 2013: “Look, I think the science needs to continue to develop. There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.”
  • EPA Administrator: Scott Pruitt (). Scott Pruitt has been Oklahoma’s Attorney General since 2011. He used that position to impede the very agency he’s now charged with leading. He boasted that he “led the charge … against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership’s activist agenda.” He has sued the EPA multiple times to roll back the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule. And he fought the Obama administration’s plan to reduce haze in Oklahoma by requiring coal-burning plants to install new pollution control equipment. It’s no secret why Pruitt has been so hostile to the EPA. After all, since 2002, he’s received nearly $315,000 from fossil fuel industries. Quote about climate change: “subject to considerable debate”.
  • Small Business Administration: Linda McMahon (68)
  • US Ambassador to the UN: Nikki Haley
  • FCC Chairman:  Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer and the absolute worst case scenario for net neutrality.1   Pail is a guy who said after Trump was elected that the neutrality’s “days are numbered” and that he would “fire up the weed whacker” to gut protections like the open internet rule.2
  • Secretary of the Navy: Philip Bilden. Bilden served from 1986 to 1996 in the Army Reserve as a military intelligence officer, including a stint at the Defense Intelligence Agency. Bilden has spent most of his career as a Hong Kong-based venture capitalist with HarbourVest Partners, a global private-equity investment firm.

Sources and Additional Reading:

Trump Team Memo Hints at Big Shake-Up of U.S. Energy Policy 12/9/2016, Bloomberg

Oil drilling advocate to be Trump pick for Interior Department 12/9/2016, Reuters

Donald Trump Is Choosing His Cabinet. Here’s the Latest List  Interactive, New York Times

Climate change denial in the Trump cabinet: where do his nominees stand? 12/15/2016, The Guardian

Trump Nominee for Homeland Security John Kelly Favors Draconian Immigration PolicyT 12/8/2016, The Real News


  • 1/24/2017 – Added FCC Chairman
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