Just what you have been waiting for—a surefire way to evaluate how our president-elect is doing. As new information becomes available, it will be updated and revised periodically ; and best of all, you will have a chance to weigh in with your own comments and evaluation in the comments section. For those who are interested in this amusing and, more likely, alarming exercise, and do not already follow the blog as a subscriber, I urge you to do so now by clicking the tab on the left where it says “enter your name to subscribe by email.” This way you won’t miss a thing, and it is looking like it is going to be quite a ride.
So here is the way the score card will work. There will be five possible grades and an overall average as noted below:
- A Score 5 “Great, Keep it up!”
- B Score 4 “Not bad, but you can do a little better, keep trying.”
- C Score 3 “Not too good , but try harder and change course.”
- D Score 2 “ Pretty bad. Red alert. Change now before it is too late.”
- F Score 0 “Catastrophe.”
It is permitted to give an extra .5 when this makes sense. The total scores will be added up to see where The Donald stands at the time of the analysis. For our purposes, scores that average 3 or “C” are considered a passing grade, probably where the majority of presidents have ended up. I would give W. a “D” and Obama an “A” though I am sure there will be lots of disagreement here. But we are not rating past presidents. We are rating Trump.
Now let’s get started. We don’t have a whole lot of information so far since almost two months remain before the nuclear code is handed over. So we will start with the appointments and the demeanor issue, which basically are the only things we have to work with. The way we will determine how well he is doing is rate his major appointments so far, add up the scores and see where Trump stands. Here are the appointments so far :
- Chief Strategist: Stephen Bannon. This may be the scariest appointment of all. The guy ran Breitbart News, the Alt-Right media company specializing in racist and anti Muslim propaganda and sympathizing with Neo Nazis. Grade: F.We all know that Trump is influenced by whomever he talked to last. If he spends any significant time with this guy, we are doomed.
- Chief of Staff: Prince Preibus. An early concession to the Establishment Republicans and his reward for sticking with Trump during hard times when the Establishment were not saying nice things. He will be Trump’s lap dog. Don’t expect him to say “No, Donald, this would not be a good time to use the nuclear code. “ Given the other options available, Prince is not as bad as he could be. I will give Trump a C.
- National Security Advisor: Michael Flynn. Retired general with a distinguished career of 33 years in the army and also a former Democrat. The problem is he appears to be a nut case. He has a reputation for being a loose cannon and was forced to retire early for verbally abusing staff. The real problem , however, is that he sees the Muslim faith as the fundamental enemy, not radical Islam, and has said a bunch of outlandish and untrue things about Islam. It appears he sees the current conflicts in the Middle East as a sort of holy war between Christianity and Islam. He is generally pro Putin and has advocated for working more closely with Russia in Syria. For appointing someone with these views Trump gets another F.
- Defense Secretary: Steven “Mad Dog” Mattis. Would anyone with the nick name “Mad Dog” be somebody you would invite over for a dinner party? But this appointment may be the big surprise. He actually gets high marks from pundits and experts for a distinguished military career as a Marine General and head of the U.S. Central Command. Though he is outspoken and says politically incorrect things such as enjoying killing bad guys, he is described as a smart, strategic thinker, tough, and independent. He may be the one Cabinet person who will stand up to Trump and keep him from pressing the nuclear button. He has said he is against waterboarding and against tearing up the Iran nuclear treaty. He is the best hope that we have right now that a contrary, strong voice might save us from the worst. I will give Trump an A on Mad Dog.
- Health and Human Services: Tom Price. Price is a six term Republican congressman from Georgia, who is an orthopedic doctor, whose only contribution in the House seems to have been leading the charge to repeal Obama Care. His alternative is described as a windfall for doctors, which will result in most of the 22 million who have gained health care insurance being left with little or nothing. He is another fanatic with an agenda. Trump gets another F.
- Treasury Secretary: Steven Mnuchin, not to be confused with “Munchkin.” The guy is one of several billionaires on the Trump Cabinet and a Wall Street hack, the son of a Wall Street hack, and the last person in the world who would stick it to the big banks. The only thing good you can say about him is that he does know his way around Wall Street and knows what he is doing. But so much for championing the little guy. Unlike other appointees, it does not appear that he necessarily has an ax to grind or an agenda he wants to accomplish except more tax cuts for the rich. Trump gets a very low C on this one.
- Transportation Secretary: Elaine Chao, the wife of Mitch McConnell and another tip of the hat to the Establishment. How much damage can she do? Trump gets another C.
- Commerce Secretary: Wilbur Ross. Another multi billionaire with an agenda—heavy tariffs on Chinese imports resulting, according to most economists, in a likely trade war, which would be a disaster. Another F.
- Education Secretary: Betsy DeVoss. Yet another multi billionaire, with no actual teaching experience but an obsession with school vouchers and charter schools. Married to the heir of the Amway fortune, and a Republican activist, this is another concession to the Establishment. I would give Trump a D.
- UN Ambassador: Nikki Haley. She is the governor of South Carolina and has been more moderate than she could have been—at least with regard to the Confederate Flag incident, and she is an American of Indian (as in India, the country) heritage. He could have done worse. Trump gets a B.
- CIA Director: Mike Pompeo. Pompeo is a congressman from Kansas and a leader of the tea party movement, who brings with him a dark agenda. He was obsessed with Benghazi and went after Hillary relentlessly. Right wing fanatic with a cause, not who you want running the CIA. Trump gets a F.
- Probable Department of Housing an Urban Development Secretary: Doctor Ben Carson. Hey, the guy is weird but seems nice enough, and this is what he gets for coming around to support Trump at the end. How much damage can he—or anybody for that matter—do at HUD? I will give Trump the benefit of the doubt and give him a B.
While there are more appointments to come, most positions do not fall into categories that will make a huge difference except for Secretary of State, and this one will say a lot about where the Cabinet may be headed. The Director of National Intelligence is probably next in importance. Labor, Interior, Agriculture are also still open, and I will keep you posted.
So how well did Trump do on our exercise? Well, he got one A, two Bs, three Cs, one D, and five Fs. His total score was 24, divided by 12 positions, which equals an average of exactly 2 or a solid D. Sounds about right to me.
And now for the temperament part. The question is how presidential is Trump starting to look? He did say on more than one occasion that he wants to pull the country together and that he won’t lock up Hillary day one, but, alas, he is still tweeting in the wee hours of the morning and talking about how the popular vote was rigged against him, how he really won the poplar vote by a landslide, all the illegal immigrants voting in states that he lost in, and such things. And naturally he is opposing the recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. It is unclear what he is going to do about all his real estate and conflicts of interest. And about the phone conversation with the President of Taiwan? Who knows? Maybe it was a wrong number. Maybe he did not know what Taiwan is or symbolizes. In any event The Donald does not sound presidential to me. Solid D. When he hits F, it is time to panic.
We are just beginning, folks. Who knows what we are in for?
What do you think?
My nephew, Alex, in his comment noted I left out Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. How could I have forgotten him? It must have been late last night when I put the blog post to bed. Sessions, of course, Sessions. He is the worst. He has spent most of his legal and political career fighting against civil rights and is a ghost from the days of Jim Crow. An F for sure, which brings the Trump score down to a D-.