WASHINGTON — Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles), a member of the House Committee on the Budget and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has issued a series of statements condemning President-elect Donald Trump’s appointees:
• Betsy Devos, Department of Education — “Once again, President-elect Trump is putting wealthy donors before our country’s needs … A strong public education system is the bedrock of a healthy democracy. But choosing a wealthy donor with no experience in the classroom shows that Mr. Trump is more interested in rewarding donors than finding solutions to improve public schools.
“Further troubling is that Ms. DeVos and her family have given significant sums of money to anti-LGBT groups, some of which support so-called gay conversion therapy. Conversion therapy, which falsely purports to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, is ineffective and has serious side effects, including depression and self-harm. It has been denounced by all of the mainstream medical and mental health organizations and should not be supported anywhere in society or government. It is critical that the education secretary take a firm stance against conversion therapy to ensure that LGBT students know they are protected. We need leaders who commit to serving all Americans.”
• Dr. Ben Carson, Department of Housing and Urban Development — “Remember the famous commercial where a man is flying a helicopter and reveals he’s not a pilot but he did ‘stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night’? Trump’s nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to lead HUD reminds me of that commercial. ‘Do you have any experience running a large federal agency or knowledge of housing and urban development?’ ‘No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.’
“This would actually be funny if it weren’t so tragic. HUD deals with real people’s lives, from homeless veterans to discrimination to affordable housing. I call on Dr. Carson to do the right thing, follow his own prior statements, which indicated he wasn’t qualified to lead a federal agency, and withdraw. America is the greatest nation on earth. We are not a TV reality show or a funny commercial.”
• Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency — “As Oklahoma attorney general, Mr. Pruitt acted as a de facto lobbyist for the oil and gas industry by challenging President Obama’s EPA rules to reduce planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions at our nation’s power plants. In essence, Mr. Pruitt has never met a federal environmental protection that he likes. It is deeply disturbing that Mr. Pruitt, who has spent so much time trying to undermine the EPA, is now being asked to run it.
“Equally disturbing is the fact that Mr. Pruitt does not believe in climate change. As a veteran and a colonel in the Air Force Reserves, I wholeheartedly agree with the U.S. military’s position that climate change is real and a threat to our national security. What does Mr. Pruitt know that the Pentagon doesn’t? The answer is nothing. Mr. Pruitt is the wrong choice to lead EPA.”
• Rex Tillerson, Department of State — “After ignoring intelligence reports that Russia interfered with U.S. elections, Trump has nominated someone who is more aligned with Putin than our NATO allies to be our nation’s top diplomat. As Russia seeks to undermine Western cohesion in Europe, Trump has tapped someone who has publicly advocated for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia and has a financial interest in doing so.
“To make matters worse, Trump’s pick is the head of ExxonMobil, an oil company hurting from sanctions on Russia, and one that knew the dangers of climate change, but engaged in a campaign of climate disinformation to protect its own bottom line. Tillerson’s deception has resulted in multiple investigations by state attorneys general, a federal investigation by the SEC, and a shareholder lawsuit.
“The nomination of Tillerson as our secretary of state should trouble all those who care about American leadership and values, Republicans and Democrats alike. I call on my Senate colleagues to reject Tillerson and his behavior of misleading the American public.”