To the editor:
We've watched the names of staff appointments for the Trump administration trickle out since the election, and too many are people who threaten the ideals or safety of Americans. As members of Congress have stood up on both sides to criticize cabinet picks and other staff choices, those who have said nothing, like our Congressman Leonard Lance, stand out.
Jeff Sessions, the nomination for Attorney General, was not confirmed as a federal judge in the ’80s because of his racism. Sen. Sessions has spoken negatively about the NAACP and favorably about the KKK. A person with these views should not be in charge of the Justice Department. Unfortunately, Leonard Lance has not condemned his appointment.
Trump's Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson's cozy relationship with Russia poses a danger to U.S. foreign relations. After Russia's cyberattacks this election cycle, the U.S. should be working to defend against future attacks and working to oppose the human rights violations of the Russian government, not ignoring the threat. Republicans have spoken out about Mr. Tillerson's appointment — Sen. John McCain described Mr. Tillerson's close relationship with Vladimir Putin as a "matter of concern," and Sen. Marco Rubio also expressed "serious concerns" about the nomination. But our congressman has been silent.
The nominee for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, has a history of supporting anti-LGBT+ and discrimination. Her foundation has given millions of dollars to anti-LGBT+ organizations, including organizations that support psychologically and physically harming LGBT+ youth. She has also called the public school system a "dead end" — a dangerous view for someone who's going to be in charge of education policy. Her views are contrary to the interests of many school districts within the Seventh District, and yet Leonard Lance has not criticized her nomination. And these are just a few examples.
This silence is harmful. If our elected representatives don't speak out against people who support hateful ideologies or are a potential danger to America, they are allowing these people to take power and to set our nation's policies and values. If Congressman Lance believes that bigotry doesn't represent America, then he should oppose its presence in the next administration's cabinet appointments.
I hope that Congressman Lance chooses to fulfill his duty to the people of the Seventh District and condemn these and other dangerous appointments before the hearings this month. Republicans and Democrats must stand together against bigotry and threats to our country's civic institutions. Congressman Lance may not be voting on these cabinet nominees, but he still has an obligation to speak out.