This is the week to call your Senators about Trump's cabinet picks

This is the week to call your Senators about Trump's cabinet picks

This week, the Senate will hold confirmation hearings on nearly half of Donald Trump's cabinet picks, as well as his pick for Director of the CIA. These include many of Trump's most controversial nominees, which has led to accusations that the confirmation process is being rushed to prevent the Senate from adequately vetting them. Below, I've made a list of the most troubling nominees up for hearings this week—as well as states with senators who may be key swing votes on the relevant committees. Remember, the phone number for the Congressional switchboard is (202) 224-3121.

Jeff Sessions

Sessions couldn't get confirmed to a federal judgeship in the 80s — under a Republican-controlled Congress — due to his history of racist comments. Particularly troubling was his prosecution of voting rights activists on trumped-up charges (no pun intended). More recently, he was one of the few senators to vote against the Detainee Treatment Act, which banned torture. Given Trump's open admiration for authoritarian leaders like Vladimir Putin, Sessions represents a terrifying threat to America's (small-d) democratic norms and institutions.

Hearing date: 1/10/2017

States where your call may be especially powerful: South Carolina (Lindsey Graham), Utah (Mike Lee), Nebraska (Ben Sasse), Arizona (Jeff Flake)

Rex Tillerson

Tillerson may be the single most controversial pick on this list, given that his close ties to Putin's Russia have even many Republicans up in arms. In particular, as CEO of Exxon, he lobbied against sanctions on Russia because they interfered with Exxon's business plans for Russia, and showed little interest in the reason the sanctions were imposed in the first place (namely Russian aggression against Ukraine). He's also failed to release his tax returns, which leaves many questions about his potential conflicts of interest unanswered.

Hearing date: 1/11/2017

States where your call may be especially powerful: Florida (Marco Rubio), Ohio (Rob Portman), Colorado (Cory Gardner), Arizona (Jeff Flake)

Mike Pompeo

Voting against Pompeo should be a no-brainer: he's an apologist for the Bush administration's use of torture, which (prior to Trump at least) both parties were united in opposing. What remains to be seen is whether Republicans who previously opposed torture will still have the courage of their convictions with Trump as president-elect.

Hearing date: 1/11/2017

States where your call could be especially powerful: Arizona (John McCain)

Ben Carson

Ben Carson is an accomplished neurosurgeon, and appointing him to be Surgeon General might be defensible. But Trump actually appointed him to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a position he's laughably unqualified for. In fact, his main qualification for the office seems to be that he was so quick to endorse Trump after ending his own presidential campaign. Also, Republicans decided to schedule his committee hearing for before the Office of Government Ethics could complete their review, which raises alarm bells.

Hearing date: 1/12/2017

States where your call could be especially powerful: Nebraska (Ben Sasse)

Wilbur Ross

Ross is a long-time buddy of Trump's who Trump owes a major favor to for persuading investors not to foreclose on one of Trumo's casinos in the 90s. Like Carson, Senate Republicans decided to hold his confirmation hearing before the Office of Government Ethics could complete their review. While I believe it's vital to minimize the number of Trump cronies in the cabinet no matter what, the incomplete ethics review should at a minimum be grounds for delaying the hearing.

Hearing date: 1/12/2017

States where your call could be especially powerful: Alaska (Dan Sullivan), Nevada (Dean Heller), Utah (Mike Lee), Colorado (Cory Gardner)

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  • commented 2017-01-09 16:34:32 -0800
    Not one of these men is qualified to serve as a member of our United States cabinet. This should not be payback time for Mr. Trump. He is not choosing qualified people for these individual posts. These men are all disqualified by verified facts!! Please do not make a joke out of our country. We all and I know that includes you, Senator Lee, recognize that Mr. Trump needs all the help he can get based on the fact that he is absolutely not qualified to be the president of the United States. Please realize I am a registered Republican. We need you to help our country and not just go along for the party. Country first