The dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is seen as the sun sets on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 7, 2013.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Trump’s bizarre choice to oversee chemical safety laws withdraws


If we held a contest to find the most offensive Donald Trump nominee for any post, Michael Dourson would be a very strong contender.

The Republican president decided over the summer that Dourson should lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s office of chemical safety, which was outlandish, even by Trump World standards. Dourson has spent much of his career not only accepting money from the chemical industry, but also helping chemical companies fight against chemical safety regulations.

Making matters worse, emails recently came to public light showing Dourson maintaining correspondence with chemical industry officials – even after Trump nominated him for the EPA post in which he’d help oversee toxic chemical regulation. Released emails detailed “an unusually close relationship with the American Chemistry Council and with individual companies whose products are scheduled for priority review” by the EPA.

Yesterday, as the New York Times  reported, Dourson withdrew from consideration, ending this fiasco.

[I]n recent weeks, two Republican senators came forward to say they would not support him.

Senator Thomas R. Carper, Democrat of Delaware and a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, had pushed his colleagues to reject Mr. Dourson. He said Wednesday that his objections were not partisan.

“I sincerely believe he is the wrong person to hold this important position, and it’s become clear that, even with a Republican majority in the Senate, he could not be confirmed,” Mr. Carper said in a statement. “Dr. Dourson, an individual who has spent most of his career promoting less protective chemical safety standards, had no business overseeing our nation’s chemical safety laws.”

The two GOP opponents of Dourson’s nomination were Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, both of North Carolina.

These developments appear to be a victory for common sense, but I’m left with a couple of questions. For example, if Burr and Tillis hadn’t balked, exactly how many Senate Republicans were prepared to confirm Dourson for this EPA post?

And second, can someone in the Trump White House explain how and why Dourson was nominated for this position in the first place?