Out with the old in with review: An assessment of Trump’s cabinet


Ethan Gullett

Graphic by Ethan Gullett

Jaida Sloan, Staff Writer

The time has come to bid the Trump Cabinet a final farewell. Looking back on the last four years under the Trump Cabinet, it’s hard to deny the seismic influence his Cabinet will leave behind. From the Attorney General who attempted to weaken the checks and balances on President Trump to a Secretary of State who tarnished our relationships with foreign allies, Trump’s Cabinet will certainly be remembered for the havoc they caused. 

Stephen Miller 

Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller may be the most xenophobic member of Trump’s Cabinet. A series of Miller’s email correspondence with Breitbart News was leaked back in 2016 exposing his affinity for white nationalism.

 According to Southern Poverty Law Center, “The emails, which Miller sent to the conservative website Breitbart News in 2015 and 2016, showcase the extremist, anti-immigrant ideology that undergirds the policies he has helped create as an architect of Donald Trump’s presidency. ”

Miller was the architect of the so called, “muslim travel ban” which effectively banned immigrants from five Muslim majority countries, and the family separation policies that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General said has caused “intense trauma” in children. Miller also set arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants and pressured Trump to cancel the DACA program. Needless to say, Miller was the influential member of Trump’s Cabinet on immigration policy.

Mike Pomepo

The former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, tenure is characterized by investigations into his leadership and ethics. Pompeo’s “America first” approach to foreign policy has left the United States isolated on the world stage. Pompeo can be credited for his unprecedented dealings with the Taliban, the “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran, the reversal of long-standing policies on Israel, and upended decades of US-China diplomacy

Notably, Pompeo was Trump’s  longest-standing Cabinet member. He defended Trump after the violent attack on the Capitol, claiming Trump’s legacy would remain untarnished. I’m not sure the same will be said about Pompeo after proving himself not equipped to handle diplomatic relations. 

He pledged to bring “swagger” to the State Department, but he is leaving it “hollowed out,” in the words of his ousted ambassador to Ukraine.

Bill Barr

Arguably the most hated member of Trump’s Cabinet, Attorney General Willam Barr’s legacy was muddled after he took a principled stand earlier this month when he publicly refuted President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. But many argue his principle stand was too little too late. It’s hard to forget that prior to the election, Barr worked to sow distrust in mail-in voting and dismissed public health measures in the midst of the pandemic. 

“You know putting a stay at home order is like house arrest,” said Barr during a CSPAN interview, “other than slavery which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”

Barr, who published a Justice Department broadside titled, “The Case for More Incarceration,” in which prison was described as the best antidote to crime. Yet, Barr’s, tough on crime philosophy, had one exception: President Trump. Barr spent his tenure as attorney general working to diminish the checks and balances on the executive. He attempted to weaken congressional oversight of President Trump and the court’s ability to conduct a judicial review of the executive branch. Barr also fought for Trump’s right to divert funds to pay for the border wall. I think Elie Hong said it best in his editorial on Barr’s shameful legacy. 

“Let there be no mistake about his legacy: Barr has degraded and corrupted the Justice Department like no attorney general in recent history,” said CNN writer, Elie Honig.

In short, Trump’s Cabinet will leave office as one of the most heinous Cabinets in recent American history. Their collective legacy is clear: a Cabinet which sought to undermine the departments they were appointed to lead.