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Trump rewards allies with Federal Advisory Council nominations as exit benefits


Image: Donald Trump, Andrews United Base, Maryland, October 21, 2020. Source: White House official photo Joyce N. Bogosyan.

Kevin Frecking

WASHINGTON (AP) – His time at the White House is coming to an end, and President Donald Trump is rewarding some supporters and like-minded allies with the benefits and prestige of working on federal advisory boards and commissions.

On Thursday, Trump announced his intention to nominate two authors who have written books he likes to a board that provides recommendations for education research. A few days earlier, another author was elected to the same council, who helped write a lucrative book about the president.

On Wednesday, the Department of Defense announced that Chinese hawk Michael Pilsbury will become chairman of the board, which gives advice to Pentagon officials on how to enhance national security. Pilsbury was the president’s external adviser on China.

And on Tuesday, Trump announced that he would appoint his former adviser and head of the 2016 campaign, Kelian Conway, to the board of visitors to the U.S. Air Force Academy. The same council will include Heidi Strupp, an ally of Trump’s top adviser Stephen Miller. She was liaison with the White House at the Ministry of Justice and was told to leave the building when senior department officials learned of her efforts to gather inside information on current affairs and the Department’s work on election fraud.

Transport Minister Elaine Chao has served on the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is also married to the leader of most senators Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Matt Schlap, chairman of the American Conservative Union and who continues Trump’s false allegations of election fraud, will become a member of the Library of Congress Trust Fund Council.

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It is unusual for outgoing presidents to make a flurry of appointments to councils and commissions before leaving office. Three days before he took office, President Barack Obama appointed Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and National Security Adviser Susan Rice to the Kennedy Center Board.

Paul Light, an expert on federal bureaucracy and a professor at New York University, describes the practice as “indecent” and says every administration does it.

“But no one is doing these things with more politicization than Trump,” Light said.

The positions that Trump has held in recent weeks are usually included in advisory boards, whose members remain without salaries, although they are reimbursed for travel expenses. The positions have what Light describes as “excellent resume value”.

The number of advisory board positions has increased over the years. Light said he believes past administrations have done a sincere job of reconciling people with the kind of authority and experience that Congress assumed when creating these councils. Now he doesn’t see the same effort.

“It’s all services repaid and earned,” Light said of the Trump election.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on what the president is seeking to achieve through the appointments and how he believes they will improve the work of the federal government.

One of the most important of the wave of appointments was the Pentagon’s advisory boards.

Pilsbury was appointed to the Defense Policy Council. In addition, last week the Pentagon announced that Corey Lewandowski and David Bossi will work in a separate unit – the Defense Council. This advice gives Pentagon leadership perspectives outside the private sector. Lewandowski was the first of three leaders of Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Bossi was tasked with helping with the campaign’s legal issues during this year’s presidential election.

They serve to the delight of the administration, so President-elect Joe Biden could quickly take their place.

Another recent move by Trump has chosen David Legats, a skeptic of global warming, as a member of the Presidential Committee on the National Medal of Science. In April, Legats co-wrote an article that read: “Actual hurricanes, tornadoes, sea levels, floods, droughts and other historical records show no unprecedented trends or changes, no crisis is approaching, no evidence that humans have replaced powerful natural forces. who have always controlled the climate and weather in the real world outside of fashion labs. ”

He will be among 12 scientists and engineers designed to award medals to those who make outstanding contributions to the physical, biological, mathematical or engineering sciences.

In September, Trump told California leaders struggling with worsening forest fires linked to global warming that the climate would “start to get colder” again. “You just watch,” he added.

Light said some of the election struck him when Trump said, “I’m going to slap you again. … You laughed at me on the way out, but I got the final decision. ”


Source: AP News

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