Tiny Action: Trump's Latest Nomination Fails

It’s no secret that 45 has nominated a string of frightening candidates to join his administration. While his latest may not be getting top headlines, they are grossly unqualified and, unless Senate blocks them, could take on roles that could create long term damage.

This week, call your Senators and tell them to vote NO on Trump's latest nominees. 

1. Vote NO on the nominations of Brett Talley and Jeff Mateer to lifetime federal judgeships.

“My name is [NAME] and I vote in [state]. I’m calling because I strongly oppose the confirmation of Brett Talley to be a U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Alabama, and I hope that the Senator’s vote reflects the same.  This  lifetime judgeship position should be given to someone with the experience to do the job well, but Mr Talley has never even tried a case in court and was given a unanimous “unqualified” rating by the American Bar Association. This is not someone who has earned a lifetime appointment, and the fact that his vocal extremist ideology seems to be the driving factor in his nomination is very disconcerting.

I’m also calling to oppose the nomination of Jeff Mateer for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Mateer has said he discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation and that he does not believe in the constitutional mandate of separation of church and state. He is an appalling choice for a lifetime judgeship.”

Who are Brett Talley and Jeff Mateer: Of the many ways Talley isn’t qualified for the role, he’s only the fourth judicial nominee since 1989 to receive a unanimous “unqualified” rating by the American Bar Association and has never tried a case in court himself. Talley also pledged his allegiance to the NRA just weeks after Sandy Hook, maintains an array of other extreme conservative viewpoints, and failed to disclose that he’s married to an attorney on Trump’s payroll.  

Mateer, on the other hand, is an experienced constitutional lawyer who has repeatedly insisted that the separation of church and state should not exist. He compared the treatment of Christians in America to that of Jewish people in Nazi Germany. In 2015, he described transgender children as part of “Satan’s plan,” has likened same-sex marriage to people “marrying their pets,” and is an active proponent of dangerous conversion therapy.

Why it matters: Such judgeship appointments rarely make headlines, but it may be the one place the Trump administration has been (quietly) very productive. He’s outpacing Obama and has 145 vacancies to fill -- and he’s filling those seats with very young, very conservative judges. More here and here on how Trump is reshaping the judiciary, perhaps for decades to come.

As for Mateer, considering him for a lifetime judgeship is an attack on both the separation of church and state and on LGBT individuals who remain vulnerable to abuse and discrimination.  

2. Block the confirmation of Kathleen Hartnett White.

“My name is [name] and I vote in [state].  I’m calling to ask the Senator to block the nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White to lead the Council on Environmental Quality. She is a dangerous right-wing climate change denier sponsored by the fossil fuel industry; holds extreme, anti-science views that would lead to damaging environmental policy decisions; and has proven in her recent Senate hearing that she is incapable of discussing even the most basic issues related to climate change. She is absolutely wrong for the role of advising the president on climate-related issues and policy."

Who is KHW: Kathleen Hartnett White is an extreme right-wing climate-denier, senior fellow at the Koch brothers and Exxon-funded Texas Public Policy Foundation, believes carbon dioxide is harmless "plant food," equates belief in climate change to "paganism," and calls solar and wind power "unreliable and parasitic." She also claimed that coal use in the 1800s “dissolved the economic justification for slavery" in the US. She did not do well in her recent Senate hearing.

Why it matters: The role is essentially Trump’s lead advisor on directing environmental policy across agencies, even over EPA head Scott Pruitt. This uninformed, extreme climate-denier could have an oversized and dangerous influence over permit applications for fossil fuel infrastructure projects, like dirty oil pipelines or fracked natural gas export terminals.

3. Stop climate change denier Jim Bridenstine from taking over NASA.

“My name is [name] and I vote in [state].  I’m calling to ask the Senator to block the nomination of Jim Bridenstine to be the next Administrator of NASA. He lacks any qualifications in science and engineering and supports increased privatization of military space activities as well as civilian. Perhaps most alarming is his flat out rejection of the scientific consensus on climate change while criticizing NASA’s spending on climate science research. Bridenstine would be a dangerous lead for the organization  responsible for gathering and analyzing scientific data that is used to create new environmental regulations and related health standards."

Who is Jim Bridenstine: Currently representing Oklahoma’s 1st District, the former Navy pilot has a history of denying basic climate science, introduced legislation that would eliminate Earth science from NASA’s mission statement, supports LGBT discrimination, and defended Trump after the infamous “grab them by the…” recording.

At his recent Senate hearing, in addition to displaying a lack of understanding of what climate change is, Bridenstine said his science-denying, politically polarizing comments came with the job of being a Republican congressman and that he would be apolitical at NASA. There is no reason to believe his change of heart, and his “new views” of climate change remain in line with the harshly anti-science Trump administration -- unequivocally wrong.

Why it matters: Congressman Bridenstine would be the first NASA Administrator to come from a political, and not scientific, background -- a cause for concern from Florida’s Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson. This has been the most anti-science administration in American history, and it began with these same watered-down climate science denial position that Bridenstine took in his hearing. The Trump administration’s actions, combined with Bridenstine’s own history of climate science denial and opposition to NASA’s significant climate science research, should trigger alarm bells for all of us.

As always, our aim is to turn tiny actions into big results, so we hope we can continue to count on your help! Do you have suggestions for our next tiny action? Email info at democratsabroad dot org and let us know.