On January 20th, Donald Trump is not stepping into a local Burger King, but into the White House and no matter what his transition team tells him, he will not have everything his way. Trump’s rush-job timeline on his cabinet pick hearings was delayed by the Office of Government Ethics despite pressure from Trump’s team, Mexico is not paying for the wall and reporters will still ask him questions he doesn’t know the answers to. And although Trump asserts that he wants his Cabinet picks to “express their own thoughts,” it is becoming clear that many don’t agree with Trump’s essential campaign promises, something a president that is notoriously adverse to dissent will be forced to deal with.
Jeff Sessions apparently would prefer roasting pot heads than registering Muslims or banning them from our country, contrary to a core Trump campaign promise. “Mad Dog” Mattis and HomeSec lead John Kelly both pointed at Russia being a threat, with Kelly supporting the intelligence agencies alongside potential C.I.A. Chief Mike Pompeo. During Pompeo’s hearing, the live feed from CSPAN cut out, but his remarks on Russia’s involvement in the past election were clear: He believes it happened, despite Trumps protests to the contrary. Even Rex Tillerson, with his clear connections to oil profits and Russia, veered away from Trump’s mantra against Muslims and declared that US ties to NATO were “inviolable.” The only weak sister in the hearings was Ben Carson, tapped to lead HUD, who admitted that Trump could “potentially profit” in real estate but that he would “be delighted to report” to lawmakers any dealings HUD has with properties owned by Trump or his family.
These slivers of sane statements, made quietly before a bipartisan committee, sound nothing like the love fest chanting at Trump rallies. Jeff Sessions and John Kelly both put forth solid arguments against the feasibility of Trump’s wonder wall, a cornerstone of his campaign. How much real influence these political veterans will have over policy remains to be seen. What is certain is that his hand picked team prefer ideas almost opposite of Donald Trump’s, setting the stage for chaos and internal power struggles.
Despite assertions from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer that “at the end of the day, they will follow the Trump agenda,” Donald Trump may find himself facing the grim reality that the Presidency is not all cheering crowds and he is surrounded by people who have no problem telling him “No.”