As an experienced reality TV/game show host, Donald Trump is surely familiar with the practice of providing contestants with lovely parting gifts for their participation in the proceedings.
Now, that his presidency is reaching its end — whether Trump himself is willing to publicly admit it or not — it appears that the ousted head of the Executive Branch of our government is providing those who participated in his four-year debacle with some parting gifts of their own: appointments to prestigious federal government positions that will far outlast Trump’s 29 remaining days in office.
Despite his imminent departure from the White House, the lame-duck president issued an official press release announcing his “Intent to Appoint Individuals to Key Administration Posts” for an administration that will soon be no more.
The list includes a bevy of Trump cronies and political supporters whose main qualifications for the positions they are being named to seem to be their unquestioning loyalty to the exiting president.
Among the appointments:
Hope Charlotte Hicks, of Connecticut, to be a Member of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
The former White House director of strategic communications and teenage model with no background in education will soon be among those deciding who gets the prestigious scholarships.
Pam Bondi, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The former Florida Attorney General and Trump impeachment attorney will be helping choose which performers are awarded the center’s annual honors, likely politicizing an honor that was formerly chosen strictly on artistic merit.
Joining Bondi on the JFK Center board will be Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, the spouse of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Paolo Zampolli, Melania Trump’s former modeling agent, both of whom have questionable expertise about artistic talent.
Richard Grenell, of California, to be a Member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
Grenell, a former acting Director of National Intelligence and ambassador to the country that perpetrated the Holocaust, was criticized for his ties to the German far-right during his ambassadorship, so the reaction to this appointment should be interesting.
Stephanie Grisham, of Arizona, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences.
Presumably, the former White House Press Secretary will be able to contribute some educational insight into how a press secretary can conduct her duties without ever holding a single press briefing with reporters.
Kellyanne Elizabeth Conway, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Board of Visitors to the United States Air Force Academy.
The former Senior Advisor to the president seems to be getting a comparatively less-than-prime position in this post-administration gifting and grifting, perhaps because of her husband George’s prominence as a vocal member of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project.
These last-minute political patronage gifts, along with a raft of others, unfortunately, can only be reversed by the Biden administration if the appointees provide cause for dismissal.
Americans can expect to see more lame-duck appointments and who knows what other desperate last-minute measures from Trump in the sunset days of his term.
The good news? Only 29 days left before our nation has a real president again.
You can see the complete list of the “Individuals Appointed to Key Administration Posts” by Donald Trump today at this link.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.