Since mid-2017, Republic Report’s “Trump Terrible 10” has ranked the week’s 10 most disgraceful figures in the Trump administration. (Actually, the disgracefulness has come so fast that we’ve published 19 countdowns in just under 17 weeks.)
Republic Report, which focuses on how money corrupts democracy, has met its abusive dream mate with the kleptocratic administration of President Donald J. Trump. Trump and his lieutenants personify how money and greed, mixed with disrespect for constitutional values, know-nothing ignorance, serious bigotry, and an endless capacity for lying, can really, really corrupt democracy.
The blatant disgracefulness of Trump, his family, and his aides grates harder then ever right now, with scores of Americans dead from a massacre in Las Vegas and a hurricane in Puerto Rico, and many more injured and suffering, on top of the heightened nuclear standoff with North Korea and other pressing challenges. Trump is wholly unfit for the challenge, and worse, he’s blatantly corrupt.
Permanent spoiler alert: We can’t imagine anyone other than Donald Trump ever occupying the top spot in the rankings. But we won’t get tired of him winning. Believe me.
10. Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State. Last week’s ranking: ―
Tillerson deserves credit for reportedly called Trump a “moron” ― the first documented instance of a Trump official saying something true. But Tillerson, who allowed his spokesperson to deny he said it, is no hero. At Exxon, he pushed destructive climate change denial and reached a deal to drill in Russia that would ratchet up global warming and enhance the wealth and power of Vladimir Putin. At State, he’s been inept, setting back U.S. diplomatic efforts around the world.
9. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary. Last week’s ranking: ―
In the wake of Trump tweets seemingly aimed at sabotaging Tillerson’s talks with North Korea, Sanders helpfully explained to the world in her Thursday briefing that it’s not possible for President Trump to “undercut” his cabinet secretaries because he’s superior to them. #geometry
8. Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy. Last week’s ranking: ―
7. Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President. Last week’s ranking: 8
USA Today looked at internet registration records and found out that Trump son-in-law Jared, along with his wife Ivanka, appeared to redirect their personal email accounts to servers owned by the Trump family business, the Trump Organization, just days after the public learned that the duo had discussed Trump administration business on their private accounts. An unnamed Javanka spokesperson denied that the emails passed through the Trump company server. Kushner is supposed to be charge of wide swaths of government business, yet he’s not even good at covering things up.
6. Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education. Last week’s ranking: 6
Entitled, sheltered Betsy DeVos has been week-by-week tearing down protections for the victims of predatory for-profit colleges ― broke veterans, single moms, people of color, immigrants, who were seeking better lives through education, only to be deceived, abused, and left worse off by greedy, crooked colleges owned by strip mall sharpies and Wall Street barons alike. DeVos, who has personal investments in for-profit education, has viciously insulted students in the process. More disgraceful announcements from the DeVos Education Department may be imminent.
Although Trump celebrated DeVos for flying in her own private plane while cabinet mates Price, Pruitt, Zinke, and Mnuchin have been charging taxpayers for their own fancy flights, DeVos is the only cabinet member getting protection from the U.S. Marshal’s Service, which will cost taxpayers up to $6.54 million over the next twelve months. While threats must be taken seriously, perhaps billionaire DeVos could help pay some of this bill, to make up for the billions in tax dollars that will go to predatory schools during her tenure.
5. Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Last week’s ranking: 4
2, 3, & 4. Marc Kasowitz, outside lawyer to the President; Ivanka Trump, Assistant to the President; and Donald Trump, Jr., Executive Vice President of Development and Acquisitions, The Trump Organization. Last week’s rankings: ―
A new blockbuster investigative report reveals that Ivanka and Don Jr., close to being charged with felony fraud in 2012, bought off victims of their blatant real estate deceptions in exchange for them not cooperating with the criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The report further recounts that Marc Kasowitz, long-time lawyer for Donald Sr., paid an unusual visit to Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance himself, sandwiched in between some big campaign contributions from Kasowitz to Vance. Three months after meeting with Kasowitz, Vance made the decision to drop the criminal case against the Trump children. Family of crooks.
1. Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. Last week’s ranking: duh
In his ugly trip to Puerto Rico, Trump: told the beleaguered citizens that the situation wasn’t so bad because only 16 people were dead, unlike “a real catastrophe like Katrina” (in fact at least 34 have already died); appeared to blame Puerto Rican truck drivers (“Their drivers have to start driving trucks. We have to do that. At a local level they have to give us more help”); told people they no longer needed flashlights, even though some 90 percent of the island remained without power; lobbed paper towels into the crowd; and finished a brief conversation with a storm survivor by telling him to “have a good time.”
And, of course, Trump told everyone that the job he and his team have done is “great,” “unbelievable,” “incredible,” and “a miracle.” His praise for Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló was entirely focused on Rosselló’s praise for Trump: “He’s not even from my party and he started right at the beginning appreciating what we did. He was giving us the highest grades.”
It’s clear that Trump’s central goal in addressing mass tragedies and crises is, as usual, his ratings. “In Texas and in Florida, we get an A-plus,” Trump said on his visit. “And I’ll tell you what, I think we’ve done just as good in Puerto Rico.” You’ll tell us what.
But while Trump tried to act like he felt the islanders’ pain, in the end it was clear that he didn’t have the same empathy for them as he did for Americans living on the mainland. Noting the presence of Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, in a roundtable discussion, Trump said, “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack.”
“You’ve” messed up “our” budget.
Yeah, selfish Puerto Rico. This is money America needs to fund Trump presidential golf club weekends and Trump tax breaks from the Trump tax plan.
And while, on Fox News, Trump said of Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt, “They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we’re going to have to wipe that out,” he stood by and allowed Mulvaney to say on CNN the next day that Trump didn’t mean it “word for word ... I think what you heard the president say is that Puerto Rico is going to have to figure out a way to solve its debt problem.” That’s not what we heard the president say.
Meanwhile, Trump undercut and belittled his own Secretary of State on Twitter, mocking Tillerson’s efforts to prevent a nuclear war with North Korea. Even though Trump has no alternative strategy at all.
Trump is also now reportedly ready to trash the nuclear deal with Iran ― a deal that Secretary of Defense James Mattis just reaffirmed is in America’s security interest. And again, Trump has absolutely no alternative strategy.
Saying over and over that you can negotiate better deals rings hollow when in nine months you haven’t successfully negotiated one damn thing.
We all know the unprecedented rate of turnover of top jobs in the Trump administration ― in a small pool, since Trump has also shockingly failed to ever fill many key posts. Trump already has fired or lost a White House chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, national security adviser, deputy national security adviser, chief strategist, press secretary, two communications directors (three if you count Jason Miller), acting attorney general, FBI director, and Health and Human Services Secretary. Plus a Gorka.
Among those who have stayed are an attorney general and secretary of state, both of whom Trump has passive-aggressively sought to tweet-complain into quitting. The survivors who remain in the Trump administration are either pathetic sycophants or well-intentioned patriots trying to save our country from a miserable leader. Or maybe both. (Or they’re about advancing their own careers by enacting the agenda of the Koch brothers and other rich donors.)
In the wake of the shocking mass murders in Las Vegas, we need a real leader who can unite the country, and also take real steps to help people, such as by protecting civilians and law enforcement alike from the hyper-availability of firearms. Instead we have ― Rex had it right ― a moron.
Trump is again number one — the most disgraceful figure in the Trump administration. Trump is not merely a disgrace; he’s a total and complete disgrace.
This article also appears on Republic Report.