Trump Chooses Qualified Candidate to Be Transportation Secretary

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The latest from Team Trump:

President-elect Donald Trump plans to name Elaine Chao — a former Labor secretary married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — as his Transportation secretary, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). Chao’s establishment ties conflict with Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington and promote outsiders to lead his government. But Chao’s connections could be an asset in Trump’s plan to promote a major infrastructure proposal that could face resistance from within his party.

Here’s the weird thing: Chao is actually very qualified for this position. That’s…a little unusual for Trump. So it’s hard to make too big a fuss over the obvious cynicism of picking Mitch McConnell’s wife to be the head cheerleader for his infrastructure plan.

Still, this is not exactly draining the swamp, is it? Chao is married to the Republican majority leader; has been a Washington fixture for more than two decades; and spent eight years in the Bush cabinet. She’s also a woman and an immigrant, which will help Trump with his “white guy cabinet” problem.1 But that’s OK. I can handle a bit of cynicism and a bit of political maneuvering. At least Chao is a normal, well-qualified, conservative, choice. If only we could say that about the rest of Trump’s choices.

1As near as I can tell, Trump’s approach to this problem is to appoint white guys to the important posts and then toss in a few women and minorities at the bottom of his cabinet. But maybe I’m wrong! We’ll have to wait and see who he appoints to head up State, Defense, and Treasury.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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