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Trump shakes up his administration in dramatic fashion

Trump claims highest administration turnover rate in past 40 years

Former Kansas Representative, Mike Pompeo, speaks at the 2011 Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. Pompeo was confirmed by the Senate to be the next Secretary of State April 26.

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Former Kansas Representative, Mike Pompeo, speaks at the 2011 Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. Pompeo was confirmed by the Senate to be the next Secretary of State April 26.

Jacob Morss, News Editor

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         It has been over a year since President Donald Trump took office, and whether or not you think he has done a good job, it is undeniable that his administration has been less than stable.

        According to PolitiFact, the turnover rate for Trump’s administration is approximately 43 percent in his first year, toppling the former record of 17 percent under Ronald Reagan in his first term. As of April 12, 47 members of the Trump Administration have departed either due to resigning or being fired, according to CNN. Government teacher David Roberts does not believe it is necessarily good to have just sycophants in the administration.

        “You can have very talented people who may not meet all the qualifications for the job,” Roberts said. “However, I think it is important that you don’t necessarily have just ‘yes men’ in the White House. Just because the president has one good idea, that doesn’t mean every idea he has is good, so I do not think having disputing opinions is necessarily a bad thing.”

        Of the 47 members that left the Trump Administration 17 were fired and 24 resigned. Many have either left or were fired because of their disagreements with Trump, according to the New York Times. Most notable of these was former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who was fired after calling the president “a (expletive) moron.”

        After firing Tillerson, Trump appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be his replacement. Junior Thomas Clevenger, who knows Pompeo personally, believes he has the necessary qualifications to be a good head of the State Department.

        “He (Pompeo) has operated a business, been in the military, served in Congress, and is the current Director of the CIA, so he has a lot of experience across the board,” Clevenger said. “He is a pretty down-to-earth guy, and I would like to think he will take the same attitude and mindset he had when he served as Kansas’s 4th District Representative to his new role as Secretary of State.”

        Critics of Pompeo believe his desire to leave the Iran Nuclear Deal that was enacted under President Barack Obama, and his opposition to Islam makes him unfit to be Secretary of State. According to the Intercept, Pompeo has projected the fight against Islamic terrorism as a conflict between radical Islam and Christianity saying, “[the] struggle against radical Islam, is the kind of struggle this country hasn’t faced since its great wars.” Pompeo was also under fire when he tweeted about his Democratic opponent Raj Goyle in 2010 that, “he could be a Muslim a Hindu, a Buddhist, who knows…One thing’s for sure…Goyle is not a Christian!” After the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013, Pompeo went on an attack against Muslim leaders in the area claiming their silence about the attack “has been deafening.” According to NPR, Muslim leaders at the time worked closely with law enforcement to thwart future threats and all major Muslim organizations in the United States denounced the terrorist attack within the same day.

        Pompeo was recently confirmed as Secretary of State by the Senate April 26 despite some early opposition from both parties in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. If all goes according to plan, Pompeo’s former position of CIA Director is set to be filled by former CIA operative Gina Haspel, who was directly involved in the torture programs under the George W. Bush Presidency. Senior Stanley Liss finds her appointment problematic, considering her history.

        “Morally, it is not good to have someone leading an intelligence agency who did such terrible things to people,” Liss said. “It is not right in general to appoint her (Haspel) and could only lead to problems later on to have someone who participated and condones that sort of methodology of getting information out of people.”

        Haspel ran one of the major black site prisons of the CIA in Thailand where she authorized the torture of Abu Zubaydah, who was the first victim after President George W. Bush authorized the use of torture as an interrogation technique, according to Democracy Now. Zubaydah was accused of being an operative of Al Qaeda, although this was later disproven, and was stripped, deprived of sleep, slammed into prison walls and forced to listen to music at deafening volumes. While at the Thailand black site ran by Haspel, he was waterboarded 83 times and lost his left eye, according to the New Yorker. Haspel also had a major role in the destruction of many videotapes of these interrogations which violated multiple court orders and the demands of the 9/11 commission.

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Abu Zubaydah was one of the first victims of the CIA torture programs that CIA Director nominee, Gina Haspel, participated in. Zubaydah lost his left eye while in CIA custody at a black site in Thailand.

        The latest major change in the Trump Administration has been the hiring of John Bolton, after the firing of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.  Roberts is confident in Bolton’s abilities to fill the influential role of National Security Advisor.

        “I like John Bolton because I think he’s a realist,” Roberts said. “As a government official he may have to temper his language more carefully. I do not want us in military conflicts all around the world. We are not the world’s policemen. I do not know if that is John Bolton’s wish, but I am hoping he can do what is necessary to keep the country safe.”

        Bolton is a known policy hawk who has openly backed war against both Iran and North Korea. Bolton has recommended a preemptive strike of North Korea to prevent any future threats from the nuclear-powered nation, according to the Atlantic. When it comes to Iran, Bolton has advocated regime change and war in the country, and, like Pompeo, wants to repeal the Iran Nuclear Deal, according to the Washington Post.

        One other concern about Bolton and Pompeo is their hard line stance against leakers and whistle-blowers. Bolton has advocated for the execution of a well-known whistle-blower during the Iraq War, Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, and Pompeo has called for the execution of NSA leaker, Edward Snowden. In reference to WikiLeaks, Pompeo said they are “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” Liss believes this stark opposition to leakers could be a cause for concern when it comes to things like government transparency and freedom of speech.

       “It definitely could be a threat to transparency,” Liss said. “Especially with the sway Trump seems to have over his voter base. I think that type of opposition could be detrimental to our American way of life. It is patriotic when the press or leakers speak out for the betterment of the country rather than just saying whatever they are told to say from those in the government.”

        Despite the constant changes in the Trump Administration and replacements he has appointed, Trump has claimed he is getting close to the administration he wants. Clevenger worries this may mean that Trump is just surrounding himself with his friends rather than people who are fit for the jobs.

       “Ideally, I would love to see Trump replace the people that are leaving with very qualified people,” Clevenger said. “However, deep down I have fear that it is going to be a lot of ‘yes men’ and people who tell him what he wants to hear which is the last thing we want for our country right now.”

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Former UN ambassador John Bolton speaks at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Committee in National Harbor, Maryland. Bolton was appointed as National Security Adviser by President Donald Trump March 22.

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Trump shakes up his administration in dramatic fashion