John Yoo, a conservative law professor at UC Berkeley, is perhaps best known as the principal author of the Bush/Cheney "torture memos" -- defending the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" -- during Yoo's tenure at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. Yesterday, Donald Trump rewarded Yoo with an appointment to the National Board for Education Sciences.
Michael Anton, a former George W. Bush speechwriter who worked in 2017 on the National Security Council, has a record of publishing ugly commentary, especially related to diversity. Yesterday, the outgoing president named Anton to the National Board for Education Sciences, too.
As the New York Times reported, there's a sudden flurry of appointments like these as Trump prepares to leave office.
President Trump may not think he lost the election, but he's acting like a man on his way out, doling out plum spots on premier boards and commissions to his friends and supporters.... They are among the more than two dozen appointments that the president made on Tuesday, filling the coveted spots with supporters who will serve fixed terms even after Mr. Trump leaves office next month.
There were nine more yesterday, bringing this week's total to 35 such appointments.
Part of the problem in the appointments is the question of merit. Douglas Macgregor, for example, was named to the Board of Visitors to the United States Military Academy, despite (or perhaps because of?) his inflammatory rhetorical background: during Fox News appearances, Macgregor peddled strange conspiracy theories about George Soros, criticized Europe for being welcoming toward "Muslim invaders," and spoke in support of using deadly force against those who try to immigrate to the United States illegally.
American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp, whom the president has seen repeatedly toeing the White House line on Fox News, was just named to the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board.
But there's also the matter of duration: the Republican president will exit the White House in 40 days, but many of these appointees will remain at their posts for several years to come.
Trump will be gone, but his appointed pals will be in official positions for quite a while.