On November 8th, the left was still running op-eds about Donald Trump’s looming defeat. By November 9th, they had declared Armageddon. But time does not cure all — as the last of the naysayers were forced to confront the certainty of a Trump presidency after the Electoral College’s binding decision on December 19th, critics have shifted the focus of their vitriolic opinion pieces from the President-Elect to his cabinet picks.
Immediate backlash followed the appointment of General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, President-elect Trump’s pick for Secretary of Defense, when Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to preemptively reject the necessary waiver required for a general to assume the position. “Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of democracy,” she argued. But wait—don’t we want somebody with military experience running the Pentagon? Doesn’t it make perfect sense to have a leader well-versed in national defense controlling the world’s finest armed forces?
The critics haven’t stopped there. They were quick to point out Secretary of Energy nominee and former Governor Rick Perry’s comments regarding the dismantling of his new agency. Others honed in on Secretary of Education hopeful Betsy DeVos’ penchant for charter schools (and thus alleged distaste for public education). All of these picks upset the status quo.
Contempt for the current inner workings of the federal government is now a necessary qualification to ensure a complete remodeling of each and every department, both in terms of limiting the size of government and in the allocation of resources for more practical and cost-effective methods (e.g. eliminating Common Core ASAP).
These types of appointments no doubt infuriate the liberal elite and the Washington insiders who have spent their entire careers dreaming of a Cabinet position. But the elites’ own desire for self-preservation could not outrun the tidal wave of anti-establishment rhetoric that swept Donald Trump to victory. The American people voted for change. Not Barack Obama’s (and Hillary Clinton’s) version of change, but the forceful, truthful, and sometimes abrasive nature of Donald Trump.
It seems that all Trump appointees will be subject to criticism; in the eyes of the Democrats, they’re all guilty — and unfit for office — by association. Under the previous benchmarks and standards set by lifelong political careerists and unwavering party loyalists, James Mattis, Rick Perry, and Betsy DeVos would be unqualified.
But Donald Trump ran on a platform of change, and when he promised to “drain the swamp,” he meant it.