It’s no secret that Donald Trump is as much of a blank slate on policy as anyone who’s ever been elected president. Both supporters and opponents of the president-elect agree that Trump is still very malleable on many issues and has a lot to learn about both foreign and domestic policy. This is why it is critical for conservatives to win the ‘battle of personnel’ in the coming days. Failure to land conservative outsiders in key cabinet and advisory roles would be akin to failing to establish control of the beach head during the Normandy invasion. We can dream of our policy battles once we get a footing on land, but if the same RINO insiders who broke the system are allowed to control the administration, we will immediately fall back in the sea, rendering the entire election moot.
While many conservatives were and remain apprehensive about Trump’s commitment to conservative values on some issues, the appeal most saw in him was a figure who would bulldoze the failed elites and rid the system of its barnacles. This sentiment was perhaps epitomized during the debates when Hillary Clinton would proudly tout her decades of experience. Trump simply retorted, “Hillary has experience, but it’s bad experience.” It gets back to Bill Buckley’s old adage – “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”
Nowhere is this more evident than with foreign policy, national security, and immigration. Almost everyone with experience in these fields within government has been on the wrong side of these issues and harbor views so divorced from reality that even random names in a telephone book would make better decisions. Yet, these same failed insiders are now gravitating to the transition team like a fly on stink and are looking for jobs.
The first challenge is to appoint a chief of staff who is not only resolute and organized but who shares the vision of the movement Trump has led. A good first start is to reject calls from establishment figures to name RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to this top advisory role.
Additionally, failure to keep the following people out of the administration would tarnish the entire appeal of a Trump presidency:
Chris Christie – potential pick for Attorney General
Just take a look at CR’s issue profile of Chris Christie and it will become clear that this man has been pushing liberal views on fiscal, social, and foreign policies for years. He was rabidly pro-amnesty before he latched himself onto Trump. The notion that someone with his principles and mindset would clean out the Justice Department is a fantasy. The notion that a man who appointed liberal judges as governor would fight legal battles against the rainbow jihad is an exercise in pink unicorns. Christie would be better suited at the Department of Transportation where he can manage traffic on the bridges.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) – potential pick for DHS Secretary
There is no doubt that the issues of immigration and Islamic terror are the two biggest factors in Trump’s win. This is why it’s so important to keep McCaul away from DHS. As we’ve chronicled in this column, McCaul has done nothing to fight the open borders crowd, and in fact, proposed terrible immigration bills as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. This is the exact sort of “bad experience” the voters want Trump to reject.
More importantly, McCaul has been a leader in the promotion of “Countering Violent Extremism,” which is subversion agenda advanced by North American Muslim Brotherhood affiliates to obfuscate any mention of Islamic terrorism. This is the very willful blindness that Americans so desperately wanted to change with the outcome of this election. Appointing McCaul to head Homeland Security would continue to empower groups like CAIR at a time when they must be banned from government. McCaul famously wrote a note to a top CAIR official suggesting that his organization is moderate and an effective weapon against terrorists.
Ambassador to Saudi Arabia would probably be a more appropriate position for Mr. McCaul.
Bob Corker – Secretary of State
There is no better example of elevating the arsonist to firefighter than the prospect of appointing Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) to head the State Department. Even in past Republican administrations, the State Department has served as a fifth column promoting the ‘America last’ agenda. This is why it is even more critical to place someone with an outsider’s mindset in the office of Secretary of State more than any other position. Bob Corker is the worst possible choice.
Corker is every bit as responsible for the Iran deal as Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. His views on foreign policy in general reflect the very inside-the-beltway mentality that must change with a new administration.
As I chronicled in my dossier on Corker back when he was being considered for Vice President, the Tennessee senator has sandbagged us on amnesty, taxes, Dodd-Frank, and the START treaty – just to name a few issues. Appointing Corker to any position of prominence, much less Secretary of State, would undermine Trump’s entire movement and reflect an exercise in making the establishment elites great again.
But maybe if Trump appoints him to a cushy ambassadorship, it could free up his Senate seat for conservatives …
Mike Rogers – National Security
Former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) is heading up the part of the transition team responsible for national security. He is rumored to be in the running for CIA Director or Director of National Intelligence. If there was ever a politician who emblematized the disease of “Washington insiderism” and represents the failure of Republicans to hold Obama accountable for his perfidious foreign policy, it’s Mike Rogers.
As Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rogers put out such a weak report on the Benghazi scandal that it was tantamount to a cover-up. As Trey Gowdysaid at the time, Rogers didn’t even interview eye witnesses before he issued his report. In May 2014, ace national security report, Eli Lake, reported that Rogers downright opposed the formation of the Benghazi Select Committee and seemed to be defending the Obama administration.
Why was he siding with Obama?
While we might never get the full story, the details that are out in public should automatically disqualify Rogers to serve in the administration. In June 2014, Judicial Watch reported that Rogers’ wife, Kristi, who was a top executive at the British-based security contractor Aegis Defense Services, helped win major security contracts for her group. “Libya also was an area of activity for Aegis, Ms. Rogers’ company. As Rep. Rogers assumed control of the Intelligence Committee, an Aegis subsidiary, Aegis Advisory, began setting up shop in Libya,” wrote Micha Morrison of Judicial Watch.
Read the full report from Judicial Watch, which raises serious questions about a conflict of interest in Libya.
Rogers bizarrely announced his retirement and said he planned to pursue a career in radio, a move that shocked a lot of people in Washington. Yet, now he is groveling for a position in the new administration. What happened to his radio career?
If people around Trump plan to elevate a man like Mike Rogers to a top national security or intel post, they as may as well replace him with Huma Abedin.
In summary …
The key for Trump is to avoid the mistakes of the past and to NOT automatically rely on insiders. Everyone expects Trump to look outside the box for Cabinet positions. That is in fact his mandate. There are plenty of smart, qualified conservatives who have not been infected by the elitist Kool Aide and the corruption of Washington. And if he is ever short on staffing options, he should remember Bill Buckley’s advice and pull out a telephone book before he taps the very people that have endangered our national security.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.