Betsy DeVos (!) vs. Jeff Sessions on Transgendered Rights: Your Reminder That Trump is a Republican


Donald Trump picked, and sides with, this man.

Hey, remember when the big fear on the right was that Trump would sell out social conservatives, because he was a big city libertine? And that BernieorBusters claimed the same thing? Well…

WASHINGTON — A fight over an order that would rescind protections for transgender students in public schools has erupted inside the Trump administration, pitting Attorney General Jeff Sessions against the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos.

Ms. DeVos initially resisted signing off on the order and told President Trump that she was uncomfortable with it, according to three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions. The draft order would reverse the directives put in place last year by the Obama administration to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice.

When it comes to rank bigotry, especially against anyone whose identity or sexuality makes him uncomfortable, Jeff Session is second to none. One of his first acts as AG was to rescind protections, a two-word phrase which we’re going to have to get used to, as it will be the hallmark of his tenure. Amazingly, this was even too much for lifelong Christianist Betsy DeVos, darling of the cultural right (although she apparently has been a supporter of gay and transgender rights, if quietly, and insisted on protections against bullying be included in the order).

And so, where did the President stand, that New York social liberal, stand?

Mr. Trump sided with his attorney general, these Republicans said, telling Ms. DeVos in a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he wanted her to drop her objections. And Ms. DeVos, faced with the choice of resigning or defying the president, has agreed to go along. The Justice Department declined to comment on Wednesday.

This is your reminder that Donald Trump is a far-right Republican who governs like a far-right Republican. He had to tell Betsy DeVos to stop being such a liberal squish.

“Please find attached a short white paper with some talking points that you might find useful to cut and paste…”


“I’m just thrilled as a bird dog in an aviary to be destroying the environment for my corporate buddies!” 

That line is from an email sent to Scott Pruitt by “Roderick Hastie, a lobbyist at Hunton & Williams, a law firm that represents major utilities, including Southern Company, urging Mr. Pruitt’s office to file comments on a proposed E.P.A. rule related to so-called Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction Emissions.”

I like it because it doesn’t even pretend that Pruitt might want to think independently. It’s not “some thoughts that might inform your thinking” or “a few suggestions on combatting this rule”, but “here’s exactly what you should say.” It’s openly disdainful. And Scott Pruitt loves every moment of it.

That’s the big takeaway from the data dump, the thousands of emails detailing his master/sub relationship to energy. This man is one of the great climate villains of our time, because he’s willing to climb to power specifically to propitiate the short-term profit hunger of the extraction energy. And now he’s the head of the EPA.

(In a way, maybe the delay on the emails is a good thing, since anyone else running the EPA would be nearly as venal, though not as transparently so. Maybe this will blow up and consume his time, and weaken his attempts to weaken the agency. But there is still a lot of damage he can get done, a lot of long-term terrifying damage. Luckily, the working white class doesn’t need clean air or water. They just need liberals to stop being so condescending, and everything will be all right.)