Donald J. Trump’s oddest cabinet pick totally disproves the notion that the Republicans are one big happy family.
Trump has nominated neurosurgeon and conservative folk hero Dr. Ben Carson to be his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Carson has no experience, expertise or background in housing, urban planning or real estate development. He did grow up poor in inner city Detroit and he is African-American but that is no qualification for such a job.
Carson himself even admitted he had no expertise and told The Washington Post, “Having me as a federal bureaucrat would be like a fish out of water, quite frankly,” on November 10.
Yet just a month later, Carson has changed his mind and taken a position he is seemingly unqualified for. Cynics might say Trump needs a token African American in his cabinet, particularly with all the allegations of racism against him. Yet there are many other African Americans; including Herman Cain and Condoleezza Rice, who are far better qualified.
The 25th Amendment Explains why Carson is in the Cabinet
A very intriguing possibility is that Carson was added to the cabinet for his medical expertise – not his abilities in urban planning. As a neurosurgeon, Carson is an expert in neurology so he has extensive knowledge of diseases and problems of the brain.
That means Carson is perfectly qualified to deliver a diagnosis on the condition of Trump’s brain. Such a diagnosis might be vital because of the fourth clause to the 25th Amendment to the Constitution which states:
“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”
In simple English this states that the cabinet can remove the President at any time if they think is mentally incapacitated. Having a neurosurgeon in the room would add a lot of credibility to such a decision. After all the cabinet would have to justify its actions to Congress, the media and the American people; many of whom support Trump.
Carson would also be in an ideal position to dispute or debunk any claim by conservative Republicans that Trump was crazy; or incapacitated, and needed to be removed. Trump; who is an expert in housing and urban development, might want to make the decisions for HUD himself but the cabinet appointment would give Carson an excuse to take part in a 25th Amendment decision.
Perhaps Donald or his advisors are afraid that somebody; such as conservative cabinet members like Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Tom Price, might try to remove him using the 25th Amendment. Price, a Georgia Congressman is also a doctor, and he’s advanced conservative positions counter to some of Donald’s.
A wild card is the proposed Secretary of State ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) CEO Rex Tillerson. Tillerson has deep disagreements on Trump on certain issues including global warming and the carbon tax. Tillerson believes climate change is real and supports the carbon tax, The Washington Post reported.
Will the Trump White House be a Nest of Vipers?
The Trump White House is beginning to sound like a plot for Game of Thrones or House of Cards rather than a happy Republican family. Donald is bringing in allies but he’s also recruited potential enemies into his cabinet.
A major problem is that Donald owes serious political favors to the Republican establishment, which went out on a limb for him. GOP leaders like Reince Priebus worked hard to put Trump in office so he has to repay them.
The danger here is that those people have a vastly different political agenda than Donald does. They support free trade; and seem to favor dismantling Social Security and Medicare, positions which run counter to Trump’s campaign promises.
Instead of a team working together, Trump might have created a nest of vipers that will destroy each other. Disturbingly there is historical precedent for this, during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s Richard Nixon kept firing cabinet members that refused to do his bidding. That sordid affair ended in Nixon’s resignation and the complete collapse of his administration.
The presence of Dr. Ben Carson indicates that the Trump White House might be a very interesting place. Pundits and reporters will enjoy the political melodrama but the American people will not be very amused by it.