Mike Pence is the Patron Saint of Mediocre White Dudes, and the Roman God of Failing Upwards.
A Democrat in his youth, Pence, like many men of limited intelligence, turned to religious conservatism for the convenience of being able to end arguments by claiming God shares his every fear and prejudice, while forgiving his every shortcoming, how convenient.
Secretary of State
Over the course of three decades, Rex Tillerson fucked, bribed, and murdered his way to the top of Exxon Mobil, like some sort of jowlsy Eva Peron.
Secretary of the Treasury
Steve Mnuchin, like his namesake, the Noise You Make When You’re Dry Heaving After Getting Food Poisoning From Eating Truck Stop Gas Station Roller Hot Pockets on a Road Trip, is deeply unpleasant, and may result in the involuntary voiding of foul-smelling bodily fluids.
Secretary of Defense
Chief of Staff
National Security Advisor
Holy shit, there are Generals all over the place these days, aren’t there?
Retired General James Mattis serves as Secretary of Defense. Retired General John Kelly ran Homeland Security for a bit, before becoming the Lead Executive Branch Babysitter, excuse me, Chief of Staff. H.R. McMaster’s the National Security Advisor, and hell, he’s still on active duty.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, third generation of his family to carry the name of a Confedarate piece of trash and also a second Confederate piece of trash, is living his dream. As Velveeta Goebbels’ Attorney General, he’s turning back the clock to a time when women and minorities knew their place, and mediocre white dudes like himself got to run everything, even if they weren’t especially bright.
Ryan Zinke is like if the crappiest robot in Westworld escaped and jumped into conservative politics. He’s such a cartoon cowboy, I bet his right boot says “Andy” on the bottom.
Secretary of Commerce
When a witch’s curse transformed his master into a Beast and his fellow servants into household objects, Wilbur Ross became a decorative garden gnome. Unlike the rest of his compatriots, he ventured out into the world to make his fortune in the realm of shady international finance and money laundering, and when True Love’s Kiss lifted the curse, Wilbur was too far away for the enchantment to reverse, and thus he remains trapped in gnome form forever.
Secretary of Health and Human Services
If the Hippocratic Oath is binding in any sort of spiritual sense, Tom Price is royally fucked, y’all. There is some straight Dante shit awaitin’ him in the afterlife.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Dr. Ben Carson is only in politics because he was rude President Obama to his face. At the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, a traditionally non-political event, Dr. Ben, having been invited as the keynote speaker, decided to use his time to shit on the President and his policies.
Secretary of Education
Betsy DeVos is what happens when bored white ladies have enough money to really fuck shit up. Turns out, if you’re born rich and marry richer, you don’t have to settle for a book club, you can buy yourself a whole cabinet department!
Administrator of the EPA
Scott Pruitt, like a lot of boys his age, grew up watching Captain Planet cartoons. Unlike most boys his age, he decided that the various sludge-smog-and-toxic-waste-slinging villains were the role models for him.
Ok, fine. Pruitt is ten years too old to have grown up on Captain Planet, but fuck you, that’s a good opening paragraph. Make your own fucking website, you don’t like it.
Chief of Staff
Nobody wants to be Reince Priebus when they grow up. He’s just so immediately recognizable as a weaselly little tapeworm of a man, y’know?
Reince Priebus is the sort of person who would be played by Brad Dourif in a film.
Steve Bannon played Bob Ewell in a high school production of To Kill a Mockingbird, and liked it so much he decided to stay in the character for the rest of his life.
A self-described Leninist, and an outspoken populist*, Bannon wants to kidney-punch the administrative state, give it a wedgie, and steal its lunch money.
Jared Kushner was born on third base and thinks he invented baseball.
Jared’s dad, Charles Kushner, went to jail for tax evasion, illegal campaign donations, and, ahem, “witness tampering,” by which I mean he set his brother-in-law up with a hooker (not, I’m sad to report, of the Pissing Russian variety) and recorded their genital-smushing in order to blackmail him.
When you worked for Akin, things weren’t simple
Cuz he got caught on tape
With legitimate rape
Senior Advisor for Policy
Why is it always the shittiest imaginable white dudes who turn out to be white supremacists?
Stephen Miller, who started balding eleven seconds after his conception, has by all accounts been a sack of monkey shit pretty much every single minute of his life.
Director of Communications
Oh wow, this new Communications Director looks like a real character, huh?
Where to begin? Ok, Anthony Scaramucci first came to –
Wait, what? Really?
White Supremacist Multi-Tool
Kris Kobach is like the protagonist of the white supremacist version of one of those Disney movies where a kid learns to chase his dreams, no matter how big. The kid gets tired of the monotonous grind of burning crosses on just one lawn at a time, and dreams of burning a cross big enough for the whole dang country!
Maybe he has a talking/singing Confederate flag for a sidekick. Named “Bedford.”
Roving Freelance Fascist
As seen in the famed documentary RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, when the Ark of the Covenant was opened on an uncharted island north of Crete, the burning light that issued thereof reduced the Nazi soldiers present to piles of ash and molten flesh. In time, the rains washed the fascist bio-goo into the island’s sewage system, where it mixed with the shit and piss and used tampons and such, and in time it congealed, took the shape of a man (albeit an unattractive one), slapped on a pair of glasses, and Sebastian Gorka was formed.
Speaker of the House
Paul Ryan was cloned from a single pubic hair plucked from Ayn Rand post-coitus and grown in a still in Charles Koch’s back yard.
Senate Majority Leader
Many years ago, Gamera was following the Grateful Dead on tour, and engaged in a brief-but-life-affirming affair with an Ohio River ‘gator that hung around Ma McConnell’s pig farm, picking off runts for sustenance. Nine months later, young Mitch emerged from a leathery egg, and devoured his fellow hatchlings, beginning his life-long love affair with hurting children.
Running the government not like a business, but like a junior high clique.
Who would’ve imagined that Donald Trump’s election would usher in an entirely new genre in political journalism?
Still, it seems we can’t go 18 hours without a fresh entry in the Anonymously Sourced Inter-staff Hunger Games Pit Fight series between the various groups of advisors struggling for the affections of our Idiot Manchild President. It’s like the Sweet Valley High books, only with atomic stakes.
Y’see, there are competing “power centers” in the White House, the press keeps breathlessly telling us. Like tweens fighting over seats at the popular kid’s table in the cafeteria at lunchtime, they’re constantly at war with one another over the handful of moments when the President’s attention span can be focused on the fate of the nation, between golf games and flipping through the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.
We have the “nationalists,” led by festering rectal boil Steve Bannon, and the “New Yorkers,” (or “Cucks,” if you speak Micropenised Internet Rage Monster) led by Jared Kushner and an undisclosed number of the heads of the hydra that runs Goldman Sachs. Somewhere in the middle, Reince Priebus, a man who realized long ago that he’s destined to be played in film version of this steaming mess by Brad Dourif and decided to lean into that, presents himself as the face of the Rational Republican Establishment while sweating through nine shirts a day hoping nobody notices his ability to competently deliver results stops at Tying His Shoes Like a Big Boy.
The chosen field of battle for this Battle of the Bastards is the media, of course. The Failing New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and Politico. This is probably the single most hilarious trope of the genre, as the leak-plagued administration sees the inevitable sentence: “This article is based on interviews with 8 White House Sources,” or “12 White House Sources” or “74 White House Sources plus we put a tape recorder by Bannon’s face when passed out drunk after reading that article where Donnie Darko said he barely knew him and he talked in his sleep about how Betsy DeVos likes to hunt the homeless for sport.”
And so the rival camps snipe and peck at their frenemies in the press all day long. Rather than tending to their own responsibilities, aides follow the Boss around like a pack of Mean Girls, terrified of what the others would say behind their back if they’re not in the room.
All this might be funny if Trump weren’t so blank and so persuadable. Dorito Mussolini has no concrete beliefs, (Ok, that isn’t quite fair. The racism, if nothing else, is deeply and honestly held. Can we ever forget him dismissing even the possibility of Judge Curiel’s professional impartiality, repeating “He’s a Mexican,” over and over, as though it were the simplest truth in the world, like saying “Parks and Recreation didn’t really hit its stride until Season 2?”) and all these assholes attaching themselves to him like so many dickhead remoras view his term as an opportunity to wield the power of the American Presidency for a couple years without that pesky need to present their ideas to the American electorate. After this week of flip-flops, on some of his biggest and most consistent campaign “promises,” from the whether NATO is the Blockbuster Video of international alliances to labeling China a currency manipulator to non-intervention in the Middle East, we now know for certain there’s no pledge he won’t jettison in the name of Winning or Respect or Please Daddy Why Did You Ship Me to Military School Don’t You Love Me?
Now, it seems like only yesterday when the the white supremacist faction was buzzing the New Yorkers’ houses, taunting “GLOBALISTS, COME OUT AND PLAYYYYYAYYYYYYYY”, but all the news lately is how Bannon’s stock has plummeted, and that’s certainly cause for celebration, because Steve Bannon is bipedal tumor that somehow gained the faculty for speech, a man whose hatred is so acute and extreme he’d seem cartoonishly out of place as the villain in a Bond film, right? If the dude who’s actively pursuing an apocalyptic conflict with an entire freaking religion, and brags about being a Leninist who wants to transform the “administrative state” into a giant robot that shoots a laser that deports anyone who speaks Spanish and erases any post-8th grade education from every single female brain loses the ear of the most powerful man in the world, that’s a good thing, right?
What you notice after a minute though, is there’s no Folks Who Understand What Their Job Is and Do It Really Well faction. Our President is notoriously skeptical of “experts,” opting instead to believe that the only legitimate measure of a person’s expertise is the size of his bank account. Moreover, there’s been a concerted effort to lock anyone who’s ever criticized the Big Orange Glob out of executive branch jobs, placing vindictiveness over competence, a trend felt with particular acuteness in the realm of foreign policy.
And thus, Jared Kushner, who carries himself with the arrogance of a man born on third base who doesn’t believe he hit a triple, but that he hit a long single and then stole second and third off Yadier Molina, finds himself in possession of an ever-expanding “portfolio,” which seems to mean that every time Dipshit discovers another task the executive branch is responsible for, he drops it on Jared’s desk and says “Wouldja take care of this? I got golf.” And Jared, like his father-in-law, is too arrogant to admit that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and so we’re left wondering whether we’re better off being governed by Kushner’s Paris Hilton or Bannon’s Hitler’s-Brain-Implanted-in-a-Cyborg-Gorilla.
Do you remember back during the campaign? When John Kasich’s people told us that Donnie offered him not only the running mate slot, but all the powers of the Presidency? Kasich would be in charge of all domestic and foreign policy, while Drumpf himself would take on “making America Great Again,” which is basically what he does now, wandering the countryside taking credit for every lemonade stand that opens as though he were personally responsible? We really should’ve paid more attention, because he was telling us how completely uninterested he was in actually doing the job he was running for.
And do you remember when he nominated Retired General James Mattis to head the defense department? In more normal times this would’ve been a major HELL NO warning sign on its own. We normally have civilian oversight of the military in this country, but amongst the Devoses and Pruitts and Mnuchins and Dr. Ben Carson repurposing HUD as a place to store grain, Mattis looked like he might be the closest thing to an adult in the room, and so we looked the other way as it took a special waiver from congress to install an only recently-retired general, a fellow nicknamed Mad Dog because of a quote about wearing human skin like a poncho, to a post traditionally occupied by someone inclined to check the military’s impulses rather than boosting and enabling them.
And this is where the collision of the President’s lack of conviction and his near-infinite persuadability becomes really dangerous.
With no disrespect meant to our military, they’ve been promising presidents quick, decisive, military victories for longer than I’ve been alive, and it’s been quite awhile since they’ve delivered.
And now, perhaps for the first time in American history, they have an executive branch inclined to defer to their wishes without a moment’s consideration given to the consequences of their actions. Trump himself has said he’s given “his” military “total authorization,” horrifyingly implying he’s given the military permission to do whatever the hell they want to and don’t interrupt his teevee time with the details. It hasn’t taken long for the consequences to manifest: Airwars reports at least 1,782 civilian casualties from U.S. and coalition airstrikes JUST IN MARCH. While no American official is willing to publicly state the rules of engagement have changed, from the botched Yemen raid to the Mosul air strike that killed more than 200 civilians, to the recent strike in Syria which hit allies rather than enemies, it’s clear the American military’s priorities have shifted, and only an infant would believe that recklessly slaughtering civilians on such a massive scale comes without consequences.
This then, is the real danger of the Trump Presidency; a disconnected, uninterested chief executive, mindlessly farming out his every responsibility because he finds governing a tedious imposition on his cake-eating/pussy-grabbing/pocket-lining/golfing time. And without a stern civilian hand to guide them, the U.S. Military rampages across the globe, indiscriminately killing because killing is their job, and protecting the homeland from the inevitable terrorist strikes from the children of the war dead is someone else’s.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the background, Kellyanne Conway roams the halls, writing Alternative Facts on the walls in her own feces, though no one knows what she’s doing or if anyone’s listening to her. Perhaps her plan is to simply continue drawing a paycheck for years after everyone assumed she was fired, finally burning the White House down in a fit of pique, believing Jeff Sessions stole her stapler