Those who were longing for some peace and quiet once the election was over need to wake up: Donald Trump is going to continue to generate controversy, and be constantly attacked by Democrats and the press, from now until he leaves office. Currently, it seems that most of his cabinet picks will be of that nature.
In a recent post, I discussed Breitbart News but declined to comment on its recent CEO and later Trump campaign chief and cabinet nominee Stephen Bannon. I simply know nothing about the man. However, there is one remark of his I wish to discuss here, as it relates to a recent post in this blog, and to two women whose names are being mentioned as possible cabinet picks, SC governor Nikki Haley, an Indian-American and prominent educational reformer Michelle Rhee, a Korean-American.
“When two-thirds or three-quarters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think…” Bannon said. “A country is more than an economy. We’re a civic society.”
It’s not clear what he really meant (and by the way, the article quotes Trump as disagreeing with Bannon), but it would seem that Bannon is questioning whether Asian-origin American CEOs will be loyal to the U.S. Of course, some would counter that people at the top of most multinationals, U.S. born or not, don’t seem that loyal to the U.S. either, but Bannon is raising a fundamental question.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a piece here titled, “Clinton, Trump, Birtherism and the Perpetual Foreigners,” that latter term being one of the most common complaints among Asian-American social/political activists: Asian-Americans, even those born here, are viewed by many as “foreign.” I pointed out that even Hillary Clinton had engaged in exploiting thinking along similar lines.
Since about 2/3 of Asian-American adults are indeed immigrants, the “foreigner” perception may be rational. And we all know about the long list of ethnic Chinese immigrants who have been convicted of industrial espionage for China. But — excuse a term used too often during the election campaign by both sides — this kneejerk suspicion of Asian-Americans is inconsistent with American values, and just plain unfair.
If Trump appoints Haley and Rhee to his cabinet, he will go a long way to counter that Perpetual Foreigner attitude. He would also score points with many Asian-Americans, and teach a thing or two to those who pronounce “women of color” as if it were a single word rather than a phrase. I know rather little about Haley, but I am a big fan of Rhee, an enormously capable woman who could finally do something about education rather than just expand the number of Dept. of Education bureaucrats. Go for it, Mr. Trump!