UPDATED 5/21: According to the NY Times, “President Trump is expected to name Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a former attorney general of Virginia and an immigration hard-liner, as his choice to coordinate the administration’s immigration policies, a White House official confirmed on Tuesday.” This is, of course, completely insane, but very much in keeping with the super-nasty, xenophobic, ignorant, bigoted Trump administration.
According to the media outlets including the Washington Post, “Ken Cuccinelli II, a former Virginia attorney general, is under consideration as [former Dept. of Homeland Security Kirstjen] Nielsen’s permanent replacement and has been at the White House recently, according to two Republicans involved in the discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly.”
This is, quite simply, a horrifying prospect. Do you think Nielsen was cruel? sadistic? Do you think Trump’s immigration policy was nonsensical? counterproductive? xenophobic? Do you think things can’t possibly get worse than putting kids in cages and creating a massive humanitarian crisis at the southern border, while ranting and raving about “the wall?” Well, think again, if Ken “The Cooch” Cuccinelli were to replace Nielsen as DHS Secretary. Here’s a quick review of Cooch’s illustrious career.
Let’s start with this post from December 2012, which provided a review of “Ken Kookinelli’s Krazy Year.” Highlights – using that word very loosely – include:
**He compared immigrants to rats, musing, “[a supposed D.C. policy – note that Cooch was wrong, because the Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 “explicitly exempts rats and mice from its provisions” – about relocating rodents] is worse than our immigration policy — you can’t break up rat families. Or raccoons or all the rest and you can’t even kill them. It’s unbelievable.” As I wrote at the time, “Just when you think Ken Cuccinelli can’t get any more heinous, he does.”
**In December 2018, Cooch wrote in the far-right Washington Examiner, “the president could continue adding troops to the border and turn border security entirely over to the military. Defense of the nation’s borders is a matter of national security, not law enforcement. The Posse Comitatus Act (a federal statute prohibiting the use of military in civilian law enforcement) would not be triggered.” Cooch added, “The migrant caravan remains an ongoing threat to our country’s sovereignty and safety.
**As this article reports, Cuccinelli “has advocated for denying citizenship to American-born children of parents living in the U.S. illegally, limiting in-state tuition at public universities only to those who are citizens or legal residents, and allowing workers to file lawsuits when an employer knowingly hires someone living in the country illegally for taking a job from a ‘law abiding competitor.'”
**As Breitbart reported (I know, it’s painful to link to these scumbags) back in October 2018, Cuccinelli ranted that “we’ve been being invaded for a long time so the border states clearly qualify here to utilize this power themselves,” also that “because [the states are] acting under war powers, there’s no due process” and “you don’t have to keep them, no catch-and-release, no nothing. You just point them back across the riverand let them swim for it.” Yep, this is a sick, sick dude.
**In 2015, Cooch claimed (falsely) that “We’re being invaded, right? One person at a time, we’re being invaded. And the president isn’t protecting us from invasion, he’s encouraging the invasion, and he’s doing it unconstitutionally.”
**This is a good one: Cuccinelli Removes Web Pages to Hide Record On Immigration. What was Cooch hiding? Try “his votes against in-state tuition for undocumented students and his crackdowns on hiring undocumented workers”
**OK, so that’s Cooch on immigration. How about on other issues? As most informed people know, part of what’s driving refugee flows around the world is man-made climate change. So what does Cooch think about man-made climate change? Fossil fuel tool and right wingnut that he is, of course he doesn’t “believe” in science, and has waged war on climate science for years now, including a relentless and disgraceful assault against leading climate scientist Michael Mann. (Also see, Dirty Energy Fuels Climate Change Denier Ken Cuccinelli’s Campaign) According to Mann, ” Cuccinelli spent $500,000 in taxpayer money to attack me and the University of Virginia for our climate research. I describe the entire ordeal in my recent book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.” Not bad enough? Mann continued:
“In 2010, Cuccinelli demanded thousands of emails exchanged between me and my colleagues. His authority, he claimed, derived from a state law designed to prevent Medicaid fraud, implying, of course, that our research was made up. Our climate change research offended Cuccinelli, thanks to his ideology-driven denial of, well, science. Therefore, he used his legal power as Attorney General to orchestrate a witch-hunt meant to smear and discredit me, and by extension, my work. Lacking any legitimate claim against me, Cuccinelli’s court filing largely ignored actual climate science, but when it was mentioned, Cuccinelli relied on Internet conspiracy theories and disinformation from big oil and coal lobbyists. Ultimately, though, sanity prevailed and Cuccinelli failed. But now, Cuccinelli’s radical, irrational and fear-based brand of politics has created a template for a like-minded Attorneys General, looking to stamp out opposition by providing a legal basis for attacking environmental rights and voting rights at the state level.”
Also note Cooch’s flagrant abuse of power there. No wonder why Trump likes this guy.
**And god help LGBTQ refugees in particular, as Cooch is a raging, rabid homophobe. For instance, see this article, which reported in July 2013, “In the most recent Virginia gubernatorial debate between Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, Cuccinelli reaffirmed his extreme beliefs about the LGBT community and did not take back comments he made in the past labeling LGBT Virginians, among other things, soulless and self-destructive.”
**On the other hand, Cooch will fit in well with the Trump administration in many ways, including its corruption. For starters, check out “The Continuing Chronicle of Ken Cuccinelli’s Corruption,”Cuccinelli Announces Settlement with Fraudulent “US Navy Vets,” Totally Omits Own Involvement!, Dozens of emails surface from Virginia AG office to gas company, Despite Ken Cuccinelli’s Claims, Records Show Deep Involvement In Bob McDonnell Ethics Controversy, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s involvement with Star Scientific, etc.
**One thing Cooch really loves is guns, which I’m sure will help matters at the U.S.-Mexico border. For more on that, see Hope Fires Back at Cuccinelli’s “Gun Rights” Firm, Ken Cuccinelli at Second Amendment March (April 12, 2010), and Faith Leaders, Sen. McEachin React to Cuccinelli on Guns in Church.
**Oh, and then there are his other views, like Cuccinelli: People Should “Go to Jail” Rather than Sell Contraception; More Cuccinsanity!, Pro-Cuccinelli Robocall Plays Up Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Positions, Cuccinelli Touts Endorsement Of Radical Gun Group With Ties To White Supremecists, Conspiracy Theorists, Cuccinelli Campaign Warns Of Future Where Pastors Are Thrown In Jail, Homeschooling Outlawed, etc.
So, yeah, Cooch would be a *perfect* match for the Trump administration – ignorant, corrupt, bigoted, cruel, extreme, etc. But he’d be a HORRIBLE pick for our country. C’mon, Senate Republicans, even *you guys* can’t possibly put up with this lunatic – can you???