ICYMI: Two Additions Confirmed to Trump’s Cabinet of Horrors

This week Betsy DeVos was confirmed as our new Education Secretary and Jeff Sessions as the next Attorney General. There is no sugar coating this: both are disastrous for women, sexual assault survivors, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the LGBT community.

In Senator Elizabeth Warren’s words, “there is no precedent for an Education Department Secretary nominee with [DeVos'] lack of experience in public education.” DeVos’ experience in education is limited to her involvement in privatizing Michigan schools, leaving public schools underfunded and forced to shut down. Her “philanthropy” involves donations to groups that oppose LGBTQ rights and to an organization that claims many campus rape allegations are “drunken hookups.” Her disastrous hearing revealed that she has no clue about students’ civil rights (or little regard, or both!). The only reason DeVos got this far probably has to do with the fact that she donated millions to Republican candidates, including 5 of the 12 senators who voted to recommend her nomination.

I’m not sure whether Jeff Sessions is just as scary or even more terrifying, but what we do know, is that his confirmation is devastating for millions of people. Sessions lost a confirmation in 1986 for being too racist, considered the N.A.A.C.P. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference as “un-American” and “Communist inspired,” used his position as Alabama’s Attorney General to uphold segregation in the state’s public school systemand opposed almost every immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship (he’s also against legal immigration and has fought hard to restrict guest worker and visa programs in STEM fields!). Sessions will no doubt use his position to defend Trump’s Muslim ban, border wall, increased policing in communities of color, proposed cuts to Violence Against Women grants, and immigration detention programs.

Though these confirmations are terrifying, what is heartening is increased resistance from voters and elected Democrats. Senate Democrats in response to pressure from folks like us, including Meghna who critiqued them earlier for refusing to take action on Trump’s nominees, pulled all-nighters to oppose both confirmations. Though DeVos did win, Mike Pence was forced to break the tie—a first in U.S. history—because millions of calls, letters, and direct actions pushed two Republican Senators to flip to the right side. It is easy to be disillusioned by these appointments, but I hope we find encouragement in these small wins: greater organizing, Democrats finding their spines, embarrassing blows to the Administration. Although both nominees pose significant threats to the (few) rights and protections the most vulnerable have, we cannot stop fighting and resisting the regime.

Header image via CNN

Durham, NC

Barbara is a doctoral student at The University of North Carolina interested in im/migration and migrant activism and organizing.

Barbara is a doctoral student at The University of North Carolina interested in im/migration and migrant activism and organizing.

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