WASHINGTON: His time in the White House is ending quickly, President Donald Trump is rewarding some like-minded supporters and allies with the perks and prestige that comes with serving on federal advisory boards and commissions.
On Thursday, Trump announced his intention to nominate two authors who wrote books that flattered him to a board that makes recommendations on educational research. Another author who helped write a favorable book on the president was elected to the same meeting a few days earlier.
On Wednesday, the Defense Department announced that China’s hawk, Michael Pillsbury, would become the chairman of a board that gives leadership advice to the Pentagon on how to improve national security. Pillsbury has served as an outside adviser to the president in China.
And on Tuesday, Trump said he would name his former 2016 advisor and campaign manager, Kellyanne conway, to serve on the visiting board of the US Air Force Academy, on the same board will be Heidi Stirrup, an ally of Trump’s top adviser, Stephen Miller.
He served as the White House liaison at the Justice Department and was told to leave the building when senior department officials learned of his efforts to gather inside information on ongoing cases and the department’s work on voter fraud.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was one of the individuals appointed to the board of directors of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is also married to Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Matt Schlapp, president of the American Conservative Union and perpetuator of Trump’s false claims about voter fraud, will become a member of the Board of the Library of Congress Trust Fund.
It is not unusual for outgoing presidents to make a series of board and commission appointments before leaving office. Three days into his term, President Barack Obama appointed Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and National Security Adviser Susan Rice to the Kennedy Center board.
Paul Light, an expert on federal bureaucracy and a professor at New York University, describes the practice as “unseemly” and said all administrations do it.
“But no one does these things with more politicization than Trump,” Light said.
The positions Trump has held in recent weeks are generally on advisory boards where members are not paid, although travel expenses are reimbursed. The positions have what Light describes as “great resume value.”
The number of seats on the advisory board has exploded over the years. Light said he believes past administrations have done sincere work to match people with the kind of credentials and experience Congress envisioned when creating those boards. Now you don’t see the same effort.
“This is all favors returned and favors won,” Light said of Trump’s election.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on what the president seeks to accomplish with the appointments and how he thinks they would improve the work of the federal government.
Among the most important in the wave of appointments are the Pentagon’s advisory councils.
There was the appointment of Pillsbury to the Defense Policy Board. Additionally, the Pentagon announced last week that Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie would serve in a separate entity, the Defense Business Board. That board provides Pentagon leadership with outside perspectives to the private sector.
Lewandowski was the first of Trump’s three campaign managers in 2016. Bossie was tasked with assisting in the campaign’s legal challenges to contest this year’s presidential election.
They serve at the pleasure of the administration, so the president-elect Joe biden could move to replace them quickly.
In another recent move, Trump chose global warming skeptic David Legates to serve on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science. Legacies co-wrote an article in April that read: “Hurricanes, tornadoes, sea levels, floods, droughts, and other real historical records show no unprecedented trends or changes, no impending crises, or evidence that humans have replaced the powerful. natural forces that have always driven real-world climate and weather outside of modeling labs. ”
You will be among 12 scientists and engineers designated to award the medal to those who make outstanding contributions in the physical, biological, mathematical or engineering sciences.
In September, Trump told California leaders struggling with worsening wildfires associated with global warming that the climate would “start to cool down” again. “Just watch,” he added.
Light said some of the selections surprised him when Trump declared, “I’m dating and I’m going to slap you one more time. … You laughed at me when you left, but I made the last decision. ”