Trump Admin Continues Bad Personnel Choices
There is absolutely nothing wrong or untoward about a President choosing close or early political supporters to join him in his Administration, serve as ambassadors, or fill other major posts.
Every President, Democrat or Republican, does it.
But most presidential campaigns—which evolve and become administrations—have fairly vigorous back office vetting procedures that, before the nomination occurs, weed out candidates for obvious flaws and foibles that make them (and the President) look bad when those awkward secrets come out, as often occurs “inside the Beltway.”
Nearly a dozen Trump appointees, post vetting, have pulled back their names or had them taken down for various incidents and issues which should have been spotted by the Trump vetting process.
The latest example of a very flawed Trump review process is Representative Tom Marino (R-Pa.) who this week “withdrew his name” from consideration as “Drug Czar” or head of the Office of Drug Control Policy.
“Withdrew his name,” is the polite way of saying the WH told the poor S.O.B never darken its doorstep, again.
Marino’s Trump-sin exploded in the news when the Washington Post and CBS revealed that Marino, legislatively, was pimping for the big commercial drug makers and succeeded in getting Congress to agree to slow down Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) corrective actions against the industry.
Despite the facts which caused the President to ax Marino, Trump gallingly uttered, "Rep. Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!"
This all came on the eve of President Trump planning in the next few days to declare some major new opioid crisis and heralded White House response.
Never embarrass DJT.
Think “fox and chicken cops” when you contemplate putting Marino in charge of overseeing vast parts of the commercial drug industry-- sometimes called junkies in lab coats--and regulating those powerful companies’ role in the nation’s opioid crisis.
All makes this prickly president look bad and lame.
Previously, Trump defended Marino as “someone who early on supported me.” That’s not good enough. That simple standard has to be higher or Trump’s just adding to the “swamp” which he promised to drain.
DJT’s response about Marino reminded me of the terrible, terrible rumors about the junior Senator from Alabama, circulating Washington, when the POTUS chose Senator Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General and run the Justice Department.
Sessions, too, had been an early Trump advocate which—in retrospect-- got him a job he wasn’t and isn’t capable of performing—as the President himself suggested when Sessions rather than protect DJT recused himself from the Russia investigation, shortly getting the AG’s job.
The POTUS wasn’t happy then, either.
All of this in turn raises the question—especially given the dozens of vacancies in the Trump Administration and the several officials who have left this Admin or asked to have their nominations dropped--why has the DJT vetting operation gone so slow and why has it missed in the names of those sent to the Hill for Senate approval?
Could it have been an operational breakdown or weakness of the main nut behind the steering wheel?
Mortgage Interest Deduction and the Trades
Will the split in supporting President Trump’s plan to curtail part of or end the mortgage interest deduction (MID) cause trouble/hostility among the Washington housing/mortgage finance trade groups, which have split this year in contrast to their past solid opposition to MID changes?
Here’s one comment from a major Realtor opposing any changes about the Homebuilders who support the change.
“The National Association of Home Builders is all for [the GOP tax plan] because of the part about corporate taxes. If you own a corporation, you want to kiss [President Donald] Trump’s feet. We’re saving people money so they can use it to buy a house,” said Jeff Barnett, a California Realtor and vice chair of NAR’s large firm real estate services committee.
Meow, meow, should be Grrr! Grr!
The always conniving Mortgage Bankers Association also this year jumped from the anti-MID change coalition and hopes to curry WH favor on its broader agenda, i.e. pummel the GSEs, in supporting changes to mortgagors writing off their interest deductions.
But, a possible winner in the trade association wars could be the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and its Exec Cam Fine
The ICBA is strong on GSE issues and opposes the reduction or dissolution of the MID.
Always a potent ally of the GSEs and very solid in its support of preserving the Mortgage Interest Deduction, the ICBA’s lobbying skill and impact could make some in Congress dubious about riling up the small bankers and going along with the WH on something which could hurt homeowners and homebuyers.
It also could cause some of those smaller MBA members to consider leaving their trade group for warmer ICBA surroundings, if the MBA keeps taking positions contrary to small lenders’ interests to please its big bank members by opposing Fannie and Freddie and supporting MID changes.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) Resurrection?
I’ve been asked if, suddenly, I‘m a Corker friend and ally after what I wrote in my last blog about him looking good in his public complaints about the President and his Administration and more significantly, about Trump’s personal; shortcoming.
So, yes, I am happy Corker spoke out and as a citizen and a voter I appreciate his courage, driven by his Trump-anger and Sectorial perspective.
But no, none of that means Corker will do a 180 degree turn on his GSE animosity or legislative interests.
He still could insist F&F be wiped out and he still could oppose any type of GSE legislative or regulatory relief others might want to extend.
He’s the chairman of the Senate Foreign Committee and reportedly liked and respected by his colleagues.
Until he’s dropped crushing the GSEs as a high senatorial priority, the Trump presidency, Iran, North Korea, Russia, China, and a host of other foreign policy issues, should take precedence over fixing a national mortgage finance system which many claim is not broken just needing some minor rehab.