Trump picks Sonny Perdue, who once led a prayer for rain, for agriculture secretary

The former Georgia governor grew up on a farm and has a doctorate in veterinary medicine.

Donald Trump Names Sonny Perdue Agriculture Secretary: Reports

President-elect Donald Trump will name Sonny Perdue, the former Republican governor of Georgia who famously prayed for rain during a 2007 drought, to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to The Associated Press and Reuters

Perdue’s nomination comes less than 48 hours before Trump’s inauguration ceremony and completes the president-elect’s proposed cabinet, which does not include a Hispanic member

Perdue, who served as Georgia’s governor from 2003 to 2011, met with Trump at Trump Tower in late November. Perdue later told reporters that Trump “lit up” when he told him about his skills in agricultural commodities and trading, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported at the time.

Perdue, 70, is well known for leading a prayer service at the state capitol in Georgia in hopes of bringing an end to a 2007 drought. 

I’m here today to appeal to you and to all Continue reading “Donald Trump Names Sonny Perdue Agriculture Secretary: Reports”

Aide to Md. lawmaker fabricated article on Hillary Clinton rigging the election

Del. David Vogt (R-Frederick) says he fired Cameron Harris after learning what his aide had done.

Trump to announce Sonny Perdue for Agriculture

President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be the next Agriculture secretary, transition officials have informed POLITICO, making a pick that’s likely to please farm groups while angering those who have called for more diversity in his Cabinet.

The decision, which is expected to be announced on Thursday, ends weeks of speculation that Trump was looking to name a woman or Hispanic to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture and answers the pleas of the more than 70 members of Trump’s agriculture advisory council who were hoping to have one of their own put in charge of the lower-profile but far-reaching agency with a $150 billion budget.

“They want someone who will go in there and kick some ass,” said Gary Baise, a Washington, D.C., attorney who helped put together the advisory committee. “And Sonny is that guy.”

In making the Continue reading “Trump to announce Sonny Perdue for Agriculture”

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

On January 30, 2009—just 10 days after President Obama stood on the steps of the Capitol and swore to defend the Constitution—Charles and David Koch huddled with GOP lawmakers, right-wing operatives, and fellow mega-donors. Deep in the sunny California desert, they made dark plans to thwart the Obama presidency at every turn.

This fall’s devastating election was no aberration. It was, in many ways, the culmination of methodical plotting by conservative ideologues, led by the relentless Koch brothers, whose January 2009 retreat paved the way for their self-interested successes.

Later this week, as Donald Trump—the most corrupt and dangerous man ever to assume the presidency—takes the oath of office, 150 of the top progressive donors in the country, Democratic elected officials, and leading political strategists will gather in Florida to regroup, gear up, and plan our own path to victory.

Let me be clear. We do seek to copy the Continue reading “A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”

Cabinetmaking Season

It’s cabinetmaking season in Washington again. President-Elect Donald Trump has made his selections, and they’re all working their way through their confirmation hearings. The outcome, for virtually all of them, is not in doubt. Unless three Republican senators disapprove of a nominee to the point of voting against his or her confirmation, Trump will get the cabinet he desires. To the victor go the spoils, and all of that.

Trump’s cabinet is a mixed bunch, to state it as politely as possible. Some have a wealth of government experience to draw upon, some (like Trump) have none. Some seem to be sober and reasonable people, and some seem to be nothing short of bomb-throwers intent on an ideological goal. But the most interesting thing about them so far is the degree which they disagree with Donald Trump on certain issues (unless they’re just “saying anything to get confirmed” ― always

ChrisWeigant.com

Continue reading “Cabinetmaking Season”

McCain still ‘very concerned’ about Tillerson

Rex Tillerson’s nomination is still up in the air.

John McCain said on Wednesday evening that he remains undecided about supporting the secretary of state hopeful’s nomination, an adjustment from his stance earlier this week that he is leaning toward support the former ExxonMovilCEO. McCain, along with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), could cause major trouble for Tillerson’s nomination if they all come out against him.

"I am very concerned about someone who took a friendship award from Vladimir Putin, who’s a butcher. Actually what Vladimir Putin is, he’s a KGB agent. That’s all," McCain told CBS. "I’ve had concerns and I’ve had several conversations with him."

McCain said that in those conversations Tillerson has stressed that being a business leader is "very different from that of our secretary of state."

"I have a tendency to believe him. Obviously he’s been a Continue reading “McCain still ‘very concerned’ about Tillerson”

Chaffetz Skipped Meeting With Ethics Chief He Threatened To Subpoena, Emails Show

WASHINGTON ― Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, told reporters last week that a government ethics official who had criticized President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to deal with his potential conflicts of interest refused to meet with him. Chaffetz even threatened to subpoena the official, Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub. “This is not going to be an optional exercise,” Chaffetz said.

But it was Chaffetz who missed a previously discussed meeting in early December, according to Office of Government Ethics emails The Huffington Post obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. And the ethics office now says the congressman is trying to keep an upcoming meeting — proposed for Jan. 23 — closed to the public.

M.J. Henshaw, a spokeswoman for the House oversight committee, declined to comment on the emails and Chaffetz’s statements to reporters. She Continue reading “Chaffetz Skipped Meeting With Ethics Chief He Threatened To Subpoena, Emails Show”

Ethics chief to meet with top House Republican after rebuke of Trump but won’t get public exchange he wanted

Federal ethics watchdog Walter Shaub Jr. will meet with top House lawmakers Monday but won’t get the public hearing he wanted after criticizing Trump.

Trump is trying to put the bully back into the bully pulpit

President-elect pressures major companies to add U.S. jobs and claims credit for growth.

Trump Cabinet nominees meet growing ethical questions

Critics say the president-elect has flouted norms and lowered standards.

Tom Perez: Treat Trump Like Mitch McConnell Treated Obama

WASHINGTON ― Labor Secretary Tom Perez suggested that Democrats should confront President-elect Donald Trump with the obstruction strategy Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) employed against President Barack Obama.

“We can hit him between the eyes with a 2-by-4 and treat him like Mitch McConnell treated Barack Obama,” Perez told the audience at The Huffington Post’s live Democratic National Committee debate on Wednesday.

Perez cited Trump’s nomination of Andy Puzder for labor secretary, a “low-road employer,” as evidence that Trump was already betraying his promise to help workers.

McConnell famously said in 2010, when he was minority leader, that Republicans needed to deliberately block the president in the hopes of making him fail.

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term Continue reading “Tom Perez: Treat Trump Like Mitch McConnell Treated Obama”

Tom Perez: Treat Trump Like Mitch McConnell Treated Obama

WASHINGTON ― Labor Secretary Tom Perez suggested that Democrats should confront President-elect Donald Trump with the obstruction strategy Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) employed against President Barack Obama.

“We can hit him between the eyes with a 2-by-4 and treat him like Mitch McConnell treated Barack Obama,” Perez told the audience at The Huffington Post’s live Democratic National Committee debate on Wednesday.

Perez cited Trump’s nomination of Andy Puzder for labor secretary, a “low-road employer,” as evidence that Trump was already betraying his promise to help workers.

McConnell famously said in 2010, when he was minority leader, that Republicans needed to deliberately block the president in the hopes of making him fail.

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term Continue reading “Tom Perez: Treat Trump Like Mitch McConnell Treated Obama”

Top DNC Candidates Rebuke Megadonor For Keith Ellison Smear

WASHINGTON ― Top candidates vying to be the next chair of of the Democratic National Committee rebuked one of the party’s wealthiest donors on Wednesday, calling on billionaire Haim Saban to apologize for labelling Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) “an anti-Semite.”

HuffPost’s Ryan Grim asked the seven DNC candidates on stage to raise their hands if they believed Saban needed to apologize for calling Ellison an “anti-Semite” who “would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.”

All but Jehmu Greene and Ellison raised their hands, including Ray Buckley, Jaime Harrison, Sally Boynton-Brown, Pete Buttigieg and Thomas Perez.

“An attack against one of us really is an attack against all of us,” Buckley said.

“Keith is a great guy,” Harrison said. “I don’t believe that there’s an anti-Semitic bone in his body.”

Greene, a former Fox News commentator, didn’t call for Continue reading “Top DNC Candidates Rebuke Megadonor For Keith Ellison Smear”

Top DNC Candidates Rebuke Megadonor For Keith Ellison Smear

WASHINGTON ― Top candidates vying to be the next chair of of the Democratic National Committee rebuked one of the party’s wealthiest donors on Wednesday, calling on billionaire Haim Saban to apologize for labelling Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) “an anti-Semite.”

HuffPost’s Ryan Grim asked the seven DNC candidates on stage to raise their hands if they believed Saban needed to apologize for calling Ellison an “anti-Semite” who “would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.”

All but Jehmu Greene and Ellison raised their hands, including Ray Buckley, Jaime Harrison, Sally Boynton-Brown, Pete Buttigieg and Thomas Perez.

“An attack against one of us really is an attack against all of us,” Buckley said.

“Keith is a great guy,” Harrison said. “I don’t believe that there’s an anti-Semitic bone in his body.”

Greene, a former Fox News commentator, didn’t call for Continue reading “Top DNC Candidates Rebuke Megadonor For Keith Ellison Smear”

Open Letter To Congress On Communication

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The first election I could vote in was in 1988. All in all, I’ve voted in 8 presidential elections. My votes were cast in both parties. Sometimes personal issues were sidelined in favor of a vote for a president I presumed would serve our country’s greater good better than mine. Not beholden to any party or policy, I have a request for Congress – please communicate better. Ameliorate how you communicate to your fellow Congress members, how you communicate with your constituents, and how you communicate to the media. The world will be watching you.

As a mediator and conflict coach, I hope I know how to communicate effectively. My charge is to help people with divergent views resolve their differences and craft a blueprint of acceptable behaviors going forward. By adhering to the basic rules of mediation, most clients successfully reach resolution while learning a good deal about others Continue reading “Open Letter To Congress On Communication”

Distrust and empty desks could stunt Trump’s government

Just days before he ascends to the presidency, there are lingering questions about whether President-elect Donald Trump’s team is fully prepared to take over the sprawling federal government, according to more than two dozen interviews with Trump and Obama administration officials, lobbyists, experts and others close to the process.

A deep distrust has taken hold between Trump’s transition officials and Obama’s political appointees at a number of federal agencies, slowing down the handover of agency responsibilities on everything from meat inspections to drug pricing. There’s confusion over policy on several major agenda items, as Trump gives conflicting signals and is often in disagreement with his Cabinet nominees. And a number of federal agencies are far from having the staff they need to run on Day One, people close to the transition say.

While every transition has a feeling of disarray to it, some observers — both those loyal to Obama Continue reading “Distrust and empty desks could stunt Trump’s government”

Ecuador Will Continue Hosting Julian Assange

WASHINGTON ― WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London for almost five years, can stay there indefinitely, Ecuador’s minister of foreign affairs said.

The South American nation temporarily shut off Assange’s internet access in October, concerned he may be interfering in the U.S. election from the embassy, where Assange has lived under political asylum since August 2012.

But Ecuador’s decision to grant asylum to Assange is “absolutely separate” from precautions it took due to its election concerns, Guillaume Long, Ecuador’s minister of foreign affairs, told The Huffington Post last week.

“At one point, yes, we took the difficult decision to cut off his internet, during the campaign and the last few days of the electoral process in the United States, because we believe Continue reading “Ecuador Will Continue Hosting Julian Assange”

President Trump: The Manchurian Candidate?

In less than 2 days, Donald J Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. But, much like Sergeant Shaw in the Manchurian Candidate, has America’s next commander in chief been recruited, and cultivated as an unwitting Russian agent?

These are the explosive claims made by an unverified dossier penned by Christopher Steele, a highly respected former MI6 officer who has a long history of working in the shadowy underworld amongst Russia’s spooks and spymasters.

According to the report which was posted online by Buzzfeed last Tuesday, Vladimir Putin not only helped the property tycoon to win last year’s presidential race, but he “has been actively cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years.”

His aim: to “disrupt, divide and discredit” the entire western democratic world order in favor of Moscow.

According to the dossier, Putin’s wish list includes lifting sanctions on Continue reading “President Trump: The Manchurian Candidate?”

Donald Trump and China’s Year of the Hawk

Donald Trump talked tough on China on the presidential campaign trail. He threatened to retaliate against an adversary that’s “raping our country” in trade. He vowed to slap 45 percent tariffs on Chinese imports, and to declare Beijing “a currency manipulator on Day One” in the White House. Yet even after Trump’s startling victory, many Chinese were unruffled. Why? Because they saw Trump as an isolationist who would allow them to work their will in the Asia-Pacific region.

As recently as October, many Chinese also believed he’d take a pragmatic approach toward Beijing. “Unlike traditional idealistic politicians who tend to place ideological values such as democracy and human rights as [their] priority, Trump has more realistic interests,” analyst Li Haidong of the Foreign Affairs University said at the time. “As a businessman, he understands the importance of making profit through cooperation.”

“[Chinese] expectations were higher than they ought to Continue reading “Donald Trump and China’s Year of the Hawk”