According to Alternet, Trump signed an executive order in private naming Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to serve as vice-chair of a commission to review the president's bogus voter fraud claims. The chair of the commission will be Vice President Mike Pence.
Aside from the fact that assembling this commission is a waste of time and resources, Trump is putting hate group figures at the helm of the probe.
Kobach serves as an attorney for the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which is a group whose leaders have longstanding ties to white supremacists. Additionally, Kobach was instrumental in the formation of Arizona’s controversial legislation SB 1070, better known as the “papers please” law targeting Latino immigrants.
“I’ve followed Kris Kobach’s career for 20 years. He is seriously dangerous, a xenophobic threat to democracy,” Jed Shugerman, a law professor at Fordham University, tweeted last week.
I've followed Kris Kobach's career for 20 years. He is seriously dangerous, a xenophobic threat to democracy. His job is voter suppression. https://t.co/UDO9ZS10Em— Jed Shugerman (@jedshug) May 11, 2017
The Trump administration announced five other members of the commission to join Kobach, including Ken Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state who also led the Trump transition team on domestic issues, according to Alternet.
Blackwell also moonlights as a senior fellow at the Family Research Council (FRC), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as an anti-LGBT group.
The FRC has made countless false claims about the LGBT community, such as the assertion that a large number of gay men are child molesters.
Blackwell also denounced former President Barack Obama’s support of LGBT rights by proclaiming he was “weakening the family.”
In addition to being bigots, both Blackwell and Kobach carry histories of voter suppression. A report from 2005 commissioned by Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) revealed “massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies,” occurred in Ohio during the 2004 election on Blackwell’s watch.
Kobach is just as bad, if not worse.
"Kobach is a longtime lawyer for far-right extremist groups with ties to white nationalists and is a leader in the movement to suppress the votes of minorities,” warned SPLC President Richard Cohen. “He is unfit to serve in this capacity, and his appointment is nothing less than an outrage.”
The appointment of Blackwell and Kobach seems entirely counterproductive to the voter fraud panel’s mission to “look at allegations of improper voting and fraudulent voter registration in states and across the nation,” as The New York Times noted.
At this point, Trump’s sinking presidency has nothing left to hold on to except his appeal to far-right bigots like Blackwell and Kobach.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr, Erik (HASH) Hersman