Trump Administration Personnel Profiles

This is a thread on the personnel in the Trump administration. I’m going to organize this thread a little differently. I’m going to try and use one post (comment) per staff, which I will update with articles and comments over time. In effect, the post/comment will be like a page for the person in question. I’m doing this for several reasons: 1) this makes finding information about an individual a lot easier; 2) it will limit the number of times the entire thread is bumped to the top.

The format of thread isn’t really structured for discussion, but if any of you want to post a comment please feel free to do so.

1 Response to “Trump Administration Personnel Profiles”

  1. Reid

    Jared Kushner (posted 5/28/2017)

    From New York Times: Kushner’s Relationship with Trump Tested as Russia Accusations Swirl

    Not a good look if true:

    “My job is to put him in a good place,” Mr. Kushner told another person he spoke to before embarking on the Middle East leg of Mr. Trump’s trip, which he planned.

    Often, that entails soothing Mr. Trump. Other times, he serves as a goad, as he did in urging Mr. Comey’s ouster and assuring Mr. Trump that it would be a political “win” that would neutralize protesting Democrats because they had called for Mr. Comey’s ouster over his handling of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, according to six West Wing aides.

    The six aides could have something against Kushner, but if Kushner really believed that firing Comey would be political win, Kushner’s judgment shouldn’t be trusted.

    Mr. Kushner sees his role as a freelance troubleshooter, but he has focused on foreign policy, friends say, because he saw a gap in the White House structure in that area.

    Aside: The gap was likely created by not filling positions in the State Department!

    Jason D. Greenblatt, the White House adviser on international negotiations, said that on the Middle East, at least, Mr. Kushner is not just a sounding board, but an adviser who helps shape policy options for the president.

    Kushner has zero experience in foreign policy, as far I know. This seems very foolish.

    Edit (6/1/2017)

    From Propublica: The Story Behind Jared Kushner’s Curious Acceptance Into Harvard

    Steve Bannon

    I thought this profile from was really interesting. My main takeaway is that the author believes that Bannon, contrary to being this brilliant, dark genius, is more like a pseudo-intellectual, internet troll–an armchair political leader, who now has the opportunity to actually govern. Think of a sports fan who constantly criticizes coaches, and is now made the coach of the team.

    I’m not sure I entirely agree. The insight is interesting, and could be true, but it also feels, in some ways, like a view that may one embraces because it is both clever and contrary to the prevailing view of Bannon more than it actually being true. Having said that, I’m not dismissing it, and I tend to think it is true.h

    According to this article, Bannon’s ideas are heavily informed by a racist novel, which portrays a wave of non-white immigrants as a intentional plot to overwhelm and “overthrow” European (white) civilization. The fact that Bannon has referenced this novel in a variety of talks (cited in the article) is highly disturbing. If you compare the descriptions of the novel and overlay them with Trump administration’s rhetoric and policies, a really alarming picture emerges.

    Peripheral Figures

    Robert Mercer

    A brief video about Mercer and his relationship to Steve Bannon:

    Maria Butina, Paul Erickson, and Alexander Torshin

    This is a Daily Beast sketch of these three individuals and their relationship to each other. Basically, the relationship represents a connection between Russia and the GOP. What the connection means is hard to say.

    Sebastian Gorka

    Islamaphobic Huckster in the White House, Times op-ed by two authors:”Steven Simon, a professor at Amherst College, served on the National Security Council in the Clinton and Obama administrations. Daniel Benjamin, the director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College, was the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator from 2009 to 2012. They are the authors of “The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam’s War Against America.”)

    Most notably, Mr. Gorka derides the notion that Islamic militancy might reflect worldly grievances, like poor governance, repression, poverty and war. “This is the famous approach that says it is all so nuanced and complicated,” Mr. Gorka recently told The Washington Post. “This is what I completely jettison.”

    For him, the violence emanates from the “martial language” of the Quran, which has hard-wired aggression into Islam. Like the recently fired national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and Mr. Bannon and Mr. Miller, the architects of the ill-conceived executive order barring the entry of citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, Mr. Gorka sees Islam as the problem, rather than the uses to which Islam has been put by violent extremists. The contrast between them and the policy makers of the previous three presidential administrations could not be clearer: For their predecessors, the key has been to fight terrorists, not assault an Abrahamic religion.


    What has been learned during this long effort from law enforcement, intelligence community analyses and an abundance of scholarship on jihadists is that religious doctrine is not their sole or even primary driver. The issues that Mr. Gorka so defiantly “jettisons” actually do play a role.

    Declaring a religious war now would only validate the jihadist narrative and force fence-sitters to procure AK-47s. Having elevated a huckster weak on jihadist history and doctrine and unaware of what his own government has learned over decades, the Trump administration now risks exacerbating the very security challenges it hopes to surmount. H. R. McMaster, the newly appointed national security adviser — a strong choice — will quickly have to exorcise Mr. Bannon and Mr. Miller’s worldview if the administration is to forge a sound national security policy. Getting rid of Mr. Gorka should be an early priority.

    The incoming National Security Adivser seems to disagree strongly with this:

    The adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, told the staff of the National Security Council on Thursday, in his first “all hands” staff meeting, that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic,” according to people who were in the meeting.

    That is a repudiation of the language regularly used by both the president and General McMaster’s predecessor, Michael T. Flynn, who resigned last week after admitting that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about a phone call with a Russian diplomat.

    (emphasis added) (From this Times article.)

    From NPR:

    INSKEEP: Well, the bottom-line question, of course, is is Islam itself the enemy here?

    GORKA: Well, of course it isn’t. That would be asinine. As I’ve written in my book, this isn’t a war with Islam, this is a war in Islam. As the king of Jordan, King Abdullah, as the president of the most populous Arab nation in the world, President Sisi, has stated, this is a war for the heart of Islam. Which version is going to win, an atavistic, 7th century, blood curdled version such as propagated by al-Qaida and ISIS or whether it’s going to be the one that is our allies’ version, the Jordanian, Egyptian the Emirates?

    It’s not a war with Islam. That would be absurd. It is a war inside Islam. And we want to see our friends win that war

    That’s actually reassuring to hear, but it does muddy the water a bit. If Gorka rejects nuanced explanation for radical Islamic terrorism, then wouldn’t that leave the religion itself as the primary cause?

    Edit (3/21/2017)

    From New York Times: Roger Stone Might be good to get to know this guy since the FBI is investigating Russian interference in the election.

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