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Top official in Trump's HHS exposed as fringe conspiracy theorist

The dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is reflected in a puddle on a rainy morning in Washington.
The dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is reflected in a puddle on a rainy morning in Washington.

Donald Trump has a deeply unfortunate habit of appointing strange and unqualified people to important governmental positions. CNN reported yesterday on one of them running into some career-threatening trouble.

A top official at the Department of Health and Human Services has been placed on administrative leave after a CNN KFile inquiry while the agency investigates social media postings in which he pushed unfounded smears on social media.Jon Cordova serves as the principal deputy assistant secretary for administration at HHS. A KFile review of Cordova's social media accounts found that he pushed stories filled with baseless claims and conspiracy theories, including stories that claimed Gold Star father Khizr Khan is a "Muslim Brotherhood agent" and made baseless claims about Sen. Ted Cruz's personal life.

This guy isn't just some intern with limited policy influence. After a year at HHS, Cordova reportedly oversees day-to-day operations for the Office of Human Relations, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Office of Security and Strategic Information, Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance and Operations Office and the Program Support Center.

And yet, based on CNN's piece, Cordova has also peddled some pretty ugly nonsense about African Americans, Democrats, Muslims, and assorted conspiracy theories about various companies, including, oddly enough, Budweiser, which he accused of supporting "jihadis" over white immigration.

"Mr. Cordova is currently on administrative leave while we look into this issue further," a HHS spokesperson said in a statement.

One assumes that when officials "look into this," they'll determine that there's reason to question the judgment and temperament of this top HHS official.

But reading this story, I kept thinking about a nagging question: how much worse is Jon Cordova than Donald Trump? If Trump worked at a cabinet agency, and officials "looked into" his social media missives, wouldn't he have to be placed on administrative leave, too?

Racist memes? Bigoted nonsense? Ridiculous conspiracy theories? This top official at HHS sounds awfully similar to the president he ultimately reports to.

I'm not suggesting that Jon Cordova's record is consistent with a career in public service -- it's not -- but it raises some awkward questions when the executive branch is led by a man who's as offensive as some of his more outlandish employees.