America’s President-elect, Donald J. Trump, may have been able to strike a more statesmanlike tone over the past week, as he started facing the task that is ahead of him. The softening in rhetoric, however, does not replicate itself in a softening on substance: Trump’s early personnel choices show his administration will most likely be defined by the same loud populism that drove his campaign. In fact, Trump is filling top offices with people who can only be described as deplorable.
There’s Steve Bannon, the former boss of Breitbart news, a flagship outlet of the so-called „alt-right“, known for its divisive style and the anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and sexism that is undeniable in many of its contents. Bannon will soon be chief strategist in the White House
Trump has also named retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn his national security advisor, a man who is known for his inflammatory rhetoric on Islam, which he compared to cancer in the past.
The President-elect also seems set on appointing Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) as Attorney-General. Sessions, an early (and lonely) supporter of Trump among Capitol Hill Republicans, is known as the Senate’s most hard-line immigration critic. In 1986, his nomination as a federal judge was derailed when the Senate hearings revealed Sessions‘ backwards views on race issues. According to US media, experts in the Justice Department’s civil rights division are extremely worried that their incoming boss could attempt to roll back essential protections for minorities.
And last not least, there’s the man Trump wants as CIA director: Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo, a hawk who is known for his belief that the U.S. needs more surveillance, not less, and that the Guantanamo Bay detention center should stay open. Pompeo has also made generalising statements about Muslims and terrorism in the past, something that seems to be a precondition for getting a spot in this administration.
Trump’s early appointments tell a far better story about how his administration will be run than the smoothed-out statements he is trying to give. This will be a horrible presidency for minorities, one that is full of racists and nationalists; one that curtails civil liberties at home and disregards international law in conflict. There can be no ’normalisation‘, no ‚give him a chance‘ for a man who seems to consider prejudice a qualification for public office. Let’s oppose this deplorable administration.