Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Nannygate that wasn't

A gazillion bazillion years ago President Clinton tried to appoint someone to his cabinet that had employed two undocumented aliens to care for her child. That caused such a firestorm that after two days of confirmation hearings, Clinton withdrew the nomination. After it was revealed Clinton's next choice for the same cabinet post had also employed an undocumented immigrant, the candidate withdrew herself from consideration to avoid a similar firestorm. It was a major story, that dominated the headlines for week. It even has a name, Nannygate. It was such a big deal that eight years later similar allegations sunk George W. Bush's cabinet picks. Again, Nannygate 2.0 was a big deal at the time. And then three years after that, W's choice for Secretary of the new Department of Homeland Security was sunk when it came out that he had employed an undocumented alien as a housekeeper and nanny. Again, the controversy was a big news story.

You may not have noticed, but yesterday Wilbur Ross, Trump's nominee for Secretary of Commerce, admitted during his confirmation hearing that he employed an undocumented immigrant for several years has a "household worker." As far as I can tell, this got almost no coverage. Major news sources didn't even mention it. No one cares and I expect Ross will get a vote from every Republican in the Senate. And this is for the cabinet of a President who cracking down on illegal immigration was the centerpiece of his entire campaign.

As stark as the contrast is between how Ross is being treated and how past nominees or near nominees were treated on this same issue, it is also not surprising. Trump's cabinet picks are an endless sea of potential scandals, ignorance, lack of qualifications, and just all around terribleness, how could Ross's nannygate issue possibly become a thing? (Besides, I could care less about anyone's "nannygate." I just find it odd that people went nuts about this issue in the 90s and 00s and don't care about it now even though we are in the midst of a bigger backlash against the undocumented than either of those other times.)