Trump’s Recent Cabinet Picks Signal Possible Agency Dismantling
On Tuesday, December 13, President-Elect Donald Trump nominated 2012 & 2016 presidential candidate, and former Texas governor, Rick Perry to be his Energy Secretary.
Perry’s wealth of knowledge deals with a different kind of energy than the Department of Energy deals with – his expertise extends to the extraction of fossil fuels. The Energy Department is an agency devoted to national security, science, and nuclear energy. The department plays a key role in ensuring the safety of nuclear energy and weaponry.
In 2011, Perry’s Republican primary debate gaffe went viral, when he mentioned that he wanted to gut and dismantle three federal departments. He mentioned the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, but failed to recollect the third department – which was the Department of Energy. This “oops” moment may have helped to sink his 2012 candidacy, but it helped to put him in the spotlight as someone who wanted to dismantle that department.
Perry’s nomination is in keeping with other recent Trump picks who have expressed a desire to curtail the actions of, or eliminate altogether, government departments that they have been nominated for, which is good news for advocates of limited federal government.
Before his election in November, Trump spoke to his desire of wanting to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. For months, he criticized the agency, calling it a waste of money, and an agency that churns out unnecessary regulations every day. In February, he called for it to be disbanded entirely, and promised in October that he would at least cut agency regulations “70 to 80%.”
Trump’s pick to run the EPA is very much in line with his views. Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of Oklahoma, is skeptical of the liberal consensus regarding man-made climate change, and has spent much of his time as attorney general fighting legal battles against the agency he will soon lead.
The Trump transition team made the nomination announcement last week, saying that Pruitt is “an expert in constitutional law” and that he “brings a deep understanding of the impact of regulations on both the environment and the economy.” In this press release, Trump was quoted as saying “for too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn.”
Trump’s pick for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – Ben Carson – and his pick for Secretary of Education – Betsy DeVos – have also expressed aversion to the status quo. Carson has been a staunch dissenter of social safety nets and fair housing projects, and DeVos has been a passionate advocate for private school vouchers.
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