The Transition So Far: Splendid!

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Beginning with the joint appointment of Reince Priebus as chief of staff and Steve Bannon as chief “strategist,” the Trump administration has been signaling two things:

1) He’s not going to abandon the outsiders who voted him into office, no matter how much stuff the media makes up about them, and 2) it’s going to include establishment full-spectrum conservatives (especially those who value the life issue).

Today’s announcement of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as Attorney General is another great indicator. The media had tried to portray this as a race between pro-choice Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie (whose record on religious liberty, parental rights, and judicial appointments leaves a lot to be desired).

Behind the scenes insiders told me it was a race between Sessions and Christie. With Christie removed from the transition team and Rudy taking himself out of the race, the path for Sen. Sessions to run the president’s legal team was cleared.

As APP’s president Frank Cannon said:

On life, education, religious freedom, sound money — really, across the board — Senator Jeff Sessions has proven himself to be an advocate for the Constitution and for the hard-working people of this great nation. We expect he will do an excellent job as Attorney General.

Through the quality of the people he is bringing on board, President-elect Donald Trump is demonstrating, in quick order, that he intends to end business as usual in Washington and truly make America great again. We applaud this appointment and look forward to Donald Trump’s presidency.

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Who Should Trump Choose for VP? Our Writers Weigh In . . .

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Of the candidates on Donald Trump’s reported VP shortlist, who would be his most advisable choice?

Ralph Benko

Mike Pence is just being Hoosier-in-Chief. The official state drink of Indiana is… water.

Only in Indiana. Milk too controversial apparently. That’s just how polite those Hoosiers are.

Not squishy. Polite!

Sweet Home Alabama! Their official state drink: Conecuh Ridge Alabama Fine Whiskey!

Hello, Sen. Sessions?

Deal W. Hudson

Trump’s VP pick should accomplish three things: first, assuage concerns about Trump’s lack of political experience; second, add a “steady hand” at the tiller in directing our nation through turbulent times; and, third, nail down the electoral votes of a key swing state. Newt Gingrich and Mike Pence satisfy the first two, though the former more so; but neither brings crucial electoral votes. General Michael Flynn adds nothing to the ticket except confusion. Gov. Chris Christie couldn’t carry his own state and makes the ticket New York/New Jersey. It doesn’t work on many levels. Thus, there is no likely choice who meets all three criteria. I hope there are some possible choices not on the short list.

Joshua Pinho

Of the three candidates for Trump’s VP, Newt Gingrich is the clear choice. Gingrich was one of Trump’s first key surrogates, at a time when few were willing to openly shill for Trump. Gingrich has spoken positively about Trump’s rise to political prominence and has encouraged his fellow Republicans to unite behind Trump. As VP, he could transition from surrogate/supporter to “attack dog,” a common role for a VP nominee. Continue Reading

Trump’s Leading VP Candidates Are Not Strong on Common Core and Fed Ed

Donald Trump is set to announce his vice-presidential choice sometime this week, before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland begins on Monday.

Despite occasional stumbles, such as identifying education as one of the core functions of the federal government and his dizzying policy switches, Trump has been relatively stable in opposing Common Core and claiming he wants to “make education local.” Although he has no record in public-education policy, he would be more likely than Hillary “It Takes a Village” Clinton to decrease the federal role in education.

But some of the major contenders for the VP slot do have public records — and those records are concerning. Here is a brief review of the commonly discussed names in order of the amount of media buzz they are receiving at The Pulse 2016, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post:

1.) Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

Gingrich served as Speaker while the Clintons, Marc Tucker, and others were laying the foundation for the “seamless web” of centralized education and workforce that undergirded No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Common Core. (See the following diagram created by former congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Mike Chapman and distributed by Education Liberty Watch’s predecessor organization EdWatch.)

To his credit, before he became Speaker, Gingrich voted against Goals 2000, which implemented the mental health and preschool pieces of the FedEd puzzle, and School to Work. These bills implemented Marc Tucker’s infamous vision explained in his letter to Hillary Clinton in 1992. Continue Reading

Who Will Be Trump’s VP? Here Are His Five Most Likely Choices

With the GOP convention less than two weeks away, the media is buzzing with news and rumors about who Donald Trump may pick to be his running mate.

Dozens of names have been mentioned, from sitting governors and members of Congress to retired politicians and even political outsiders. Cutting through some of the speculation, however, here are Trump’s five most likely options.

Newt Gingrich

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Gingrich, who served as Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999, is well-known in conservative circles for his nearly encyclopedic knowledge of political history. Though he has, at times, been criticized as too ambitious, Gingrich is seen by many as a strong, principled conservative with elder statesman status in the party.

His time in the House and on the campaign trail in 2012 would bring an element of experience sorely missing from the Trump campaign. Writing for Time, David Lane argued that “Selecting Gingrich as Veep would send a message worldwide—that Trump is bringing ‘adults’ to the table with the intention to make America great again.”

In many ways, Gingrich’s “Republican revolution” in the ‘90s resembled Trump’s program, albeit in a more refined form. Gingrich, like Trump, was interested more in winning over discontented Democrats than in strict observance of conservative orthodoxies.

In a column this week, Jonah Goldberg argued that “Gingrich could complement Trump; he could be like the walking explanatory footnote to Trump’s every outburst.” Gingrich could provide a rhetorical defense of Trump’s platform and statements, thus elevating the tone of the campaign in some sense. Continue Reading