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New Book Examines 'Immense Power' of Trump Appointees

Mitch Teich
John Nichols writes that not all the most powerful people in Washington are in the White House or the U.S. Capitol building.

Donald Trump grabs worldwide headlines, it seems, every time he sends a message into the Twitterverse, whether it's about North Korea, or the National Anthem protests by professional athletes.  Wisconsin writer John Nichols says that while those stories have importance, there are equally important stories involving members of the Trump Administration that are going underreported.


Nichols, who writes about national affairs for The Nation, sets the framework for many of those stories in his new book, Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America.  "Beyond Donald Trump," Nichols says, "beyond what he does on a given day, are all the people he has given positions of immense power - both in running cabinet departments, but also in running regulatory agencies."

"And on a daily basis - no matter what Trump is doing, these people are actually implementing a very aggressive agenda that is transforming America," he says.

Nichols profiles dozens of people in the book, from well-known names like [former Trump adviser] Steve Bannon and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to less familiar players such as financiers Robert and Rebekah Mercer, and Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma. Only a handful of subjects in the book are elected officials, and Nichols says that's part of the point.

Credit The Nation
John Nichols is national affairs writer for The Nation.

"One of the things that I recognized as I was writing this book is that Donald Trump is really sort of an early warning alarm about the vulnerabilities in the American political system. His election was certainly a warning in terms of the Electoral College." 

Beyond that, Nichols points to the people President Trump appointed to have "immense power" in terms of shaping economic, healthcare, and environmental policy. 

"What you realize is that a President now, who has a Congress that is aligned with him, really has the ability through appointments to fundamentally transform not just government, but how the United States functions."

John Nichols will talk about his new book Wednesday night at Boswell Book Company.

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