Navigating Trump's America: Trump's cabinet picks bring diversity, supporters show anger

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

This is Day Two of Mic's guide to Donald Trump's America — and how it affects you. Read more here. Want to receive this as a daily in your inbox? Subscribe here. Navigating Trump's America will go on a break for turkey and deep breathing tomorrow and Friday. We will return Monday.

The dashboard:

57 days until Trump's inauguration

157 days until the end of Trump's first 100 days

712 days until the 2018 midterm elections

1,440 days until the 2020 presidential election

Highlights: 

— Cabinet appointments made: 2/15

— Next up: Ben Carson for secretary of housing and urban development? Trump is "seriously considering" him.

— More: Trump tapped South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to be the next ambassador to the United Nations. She has accepted. Along with Carson, Haley would bring the first sense of diversity to Trump's cabinet. And Betsy DeVos accepted Trump's offer to become secretary of education.

— Where's Trump? He's spending Thanksgiving at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

— Hillary Clinton's lead over Trump in the popular vote: More than 2 million votes, 1.5 percentage-points greater than Trump (Cook Political Report)

Trouble in Trumpland?

While many of Donald Trump's surrogates defended his decision to not appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, not all of his supporters were pleased. Ann Coulter tweeted that Trump was not federal law enforcement — and the president-elect should let them "do their jobs." Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said it was wrong for Trump to suggest "we're not gonna enforce the law." 

We explore the response among Trump's supporters further down, in A View From Trump Country and Same Subject, Two Views. The upshot: When you spend the campaign saying you will investigate someone, some supporters will expect you to follow through.

Trump's diversity hires

Amid days of heated criticism that Trump is focused solely on appointing white men, the president-elect has tapped two minority leaders in the Republican Party for top White House positions: Nikki Haley and Ben Carson.

First, Haley, governor of South Carolina, will reportedly be ambassador to the United Nations. The governor since 2011, Haley is the second Indian-American governor in U.S. history. Staunch conservative Haley grew into a national figure in 2015 when she pushed to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol.

Source: Mic/C-SPAN

It's a somewhat odd choice, notes the Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier, as Haley "has little diplomatic experience." In 2014, a BuzzFeed profile of Haley showed reservations among some Republicans about her abilities in a national, high-pressure role. 

Yet Haley is a key appointment for Trump, likely ready to shake the labeling of his administration as led by "racist white men." Haley offered only lukewarm support of Trump, and only after he was the clear Republican nominee. Back in March, Trump tweeted, "The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!"

Meanwhile, Ben Carson is being "seriously considered" for secretary of housing and urban development. Carson's campaign for president ended in early March and he later endorsed Trump for president. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Trump had already offered Carson the position.

The pick would put a prominent Republican African-American man in a position that sends federal funds to urban areas and minority communities. But as Mic's Tom McKay wrote, Carson has little experience in this area. "He has no formal top-level background in housing or development policy, though his rags-to-riches story of being raised as a poor black child in Detroit before attending Yale University and the University of Michigan Medical School at one time made him a role model to many in the black community." There is scant evidence to suggest Carson will be effective in this role despite his background.

On Wednesday, Carson said on Facebook that "an announcement is forthcoming about my role in helping to make America great again."

Source: Giphy

Later Wednesday, Betsy DeVos accepted Trump's offer to become his secretary of education. DeVos is a conservative activist with a long record advocating for school choice and voucher programs, according to the Washington Post. These traditional Republican stances are sure to irk liberals and teacher's unions. 

Trump's conflict of interest issues will not go away.  

There has been no reprieve in media attention over concerns that Trump's vast international business ties will influence his presidency. But Trump insists this will not happen: He told the New York Times yesterday, "The president can't have a conflict of interest." (Mic)

Mic broke down the emoluments clause, a constitutional provision that bars government officials from receiving compensation from foreign governments. Trump's myriad overseas businesses present potential quid pro quo situations that could violate federal law. Mic also detailed how leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership — the deal brokered by President Barack Obama — affects you.

New York magazine broke the story Tuesday that some election experts are pressuring Clinton to challenge the outcome of the election in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. 

But before you get excited: Credible election analysts and liberals alike expressed great skepticism about such claims. Election guru Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight argued the fact that Clinton did better in Wisconsin counties with only paper ballots — what these election experts argue is a sign electronic voting machines could have been rigged — disappears when one controls for race and education. Vox, which ran pieces supportive of Clinton throughout the campaign, went with "Be very skeptical of stolen election claims."

J. Alex Halderman — cited in the New York report — criticized the magazine's assessment of the facts and his views on Wednesday. Halderman is a computer science professor and cyber security expert at the University of Michigan. He argues the only way to determine if there was a cyberattack is to closely examine the ballot. (Medium)

Videos from Mic for your holiday break

"Navigating Feminism in Trump's America" explores where feminism must go in the wake of Trump's election, brought to you by the women of MicWatch the video here.

Source: Giphy

In "America's Long History of Hating on Protesters," Mic's Gabe Gonzalez explains how protests from the Boston Tea Party to the Civil Rights movement spurred some of the most important moments in American history. Watch the video here.

A view from Trump country: conservative online forums

Trump's statement Tuesday that he would not pursue a Clinton investigation drew widespread derision from the political establishment and media outlets. Why? Because Trump never had any ability to determine whether Clinton should be prosecuted, the Washington Post explains.

What did Trump supporters think would happen?

Over at Free Republic, a 20-year-old online forum for conservatives, Trump supporters expressed mixed opinions on his decision.

 One commenter: "I just read the Post article and was already holding my breath after hearing this rumor earlier this morning. Now that I see the quotes, and find that this bullshit is true....I am pretty much over my Trump mania. To hell with it all." 

Another commenter: "In four years no one will even remember her name. You honestly think the potential nonprosecution of HRC would be a campaign issue in 2020????" 

And a third: "Let Donald be Donald. Remember, he is usually two steps ahead of the game. If he calls off the dogs he has figured out that a different pack of dogs is going to devour them soon enough and he won't look like the big meanie." 

Same subject, two views

More than a week after Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani said the president-elect might follow through on his threat to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton, Giuliani backtracked. The former New York City mayor said, "There is a tradition in American politics that after you win an election, you sort of put things behind you, and if that's the decision he reached, that's perfectly consistent with the historical pattern." (The Hill)

Meanwhile, longtime Trump Twitter cheerleader Ann Coulter seemed dumbfounded. The conservative commentator questioned how Trump could renege on his campaign promise to investigate Clinton. Coulter on Twitter: "Whoa! I thought we elected @realDonaldTrump president. Did we make him the FBI, & DOJ? His job is to pick those guys, not do their jobs."

Source: Giphy

Thanksgiving special: 6 absolute truths to help your uncle contextualize his anger for or against Trump

— More Americans voted in 2016 than 2012. (Cook Political Report)

— Calling the Justice Department will not force a recount in the 2016 election. (Washington Post)

— In Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Trump seems to have won by more than enough to prevent a recount. (USA Today)

— Trump's unprecedented wealth presents many possible instances for corruption, as laid out under federal law. (Mic)

— The Trans-Pacific Partnership has yet to kill or create a single job — it hasn't been implemented. (Mic)

— The Brookings Institution has determined the less-than-500 counties Clinton won generated 64% of America's economic activity last year — which means Trump only won a third of the country's economy. (Washington Post)

If you need a guide to speaking with relatives who voted for Trump, Mic has that too.

Mic takes no responsibility for what takes place if you wield these facts in a holiday argument. We hope it does not look like this:

Source: Giphy

The loyal opposition: the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party

While Keith Ellison seemed like an early favorite for chair of the Democratic National Committee, the Muslim American representative from Minnesota has a new foe in his bid to head the party: The White House, the New York Times reports. The fight pits party leaders against each other in one of the most irrelevant periods for Democrats in history.

Anna Swartz at Mic surveyed the landscape to detail where President Barack Obama is likely to land after Trump is inaugurated, including the higher-than-normal likelihood Obama will remain politically active. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders told GQ he is still proud he moved the Democratic Party to the left, but added, "I don't see any silver lining" in Trump's victory.

Snippets

— Remember Trump saying the IRS was auditing his tax returns? Now he can appoint the head of the federal agency that oversees his taxes. And no, nothing prevents that. (Politico)

— The stock markets like Trump. Why? "Optimism that Trump will ease regulations and reduce taxes." (Reuters)

— Obama may be the first president in a half century to leave office with a smaller federal prison population. (New York Times)

— Top designers disagree on whether they should dress the first lady, based on whether they support the values of the Trump campaign. (Mic)

— Clinton's popular vote total could reach Obama's from 2012. (Mic)

Stay up-to-date on America's changes under President-elect Donald Trump with this newsletter. Every weekday we'll cover the biggest Trump news and how Americans have supported him, opposed him and more. The newsletter will return on Monday. This newsletter is produced by Will Drabold at Mic.

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Will Drabold

Will Drabold is a policy writer at Mic. He writes Navigating Trump's America, Mic's daily read on Donald Trump's America. He is based in Washington, D.C., and can be reached at wdrabold@mic.com

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