I’m feeling a little woozy after a twenty-four-hour stomach bug had me in bed all day Saturday, but it looks like it’s been an exciting week for you and I decided I ought to write. Congratulations are in order again on your appointment as a Vice Chair to President-elect Trump’s transition team. He seems like a man who really rewards loyalty. You showed him unwavering support during his election campaign; I can see why he would want someone like you on his team.
I don’t know yet what particular assignments he’ll give to each of the 28 or so people who were named “Vice Chairs” (I’ve been trying to find a full list but information has been spotty), but I see you’re in pretty famous company among people like Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Peter Thiel, and the President-elect’s children and son-in-law.
I hope you’ll post a press release or an editorial on your website to give your constituents an idea of what you’ll be doing in this role. So far, my impression of the transition has been that it’s been a little rough. I’m particularly worried about the President-elect’s phone calls with world leaders. I’ve heard that both Taiwan and Pakistan are interpreting his messages as implying a sharp shift in foreign policy toward big players in the international scene (China and India, respectively). I understand that a new president might take foreign policy in a new direction, but I hope he does so cautiously and in consultation with experts.
I also wanted to comment on your support for the “Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2016” –legislation that passed the House in November but seems certain to be vetoed by President Obama if it makes it through the Senate. Tom, I must say that from this constituent’s point of view, this looks like legislative theater. If I’ve understood it rightly, the proposed law would prevent an administration from enacting regulations during the lame-duck period of a presidential term. Support for such an act sounds good in a press release; you get to say you are “fighting government regulation.” But because this act doesn’t really have a chance of becoming law it doesn’t seem like a good use of your time. I am more than a little weary of Congress not really working on positive legislation but instead on plans to stymie the other party—fruitless plans, even, like this one that simply signal a desire to stymie the other party. I would so much rather see you putting your time and energy into finding common ground with Democrats, not just trying to block them. Don’t misunderstand me. I think both parties are to blame for this state of affairs. If your opponent had been elected, I expect I would be urging him to work with the Republicans rather than trying to get in their way.
One of my purposes in writing these letters is to try to find the common ground myself. I’m working to identify policy ideas that I think I and my neighbors could agree on. It’s hard when I see Congress so divided and representatives of both parties acting in ways that are designed simply to frustrate the other party. I’ll have more to say about solutions to this problem in my next letter.
By the way, this is my fourth letter to you and I still have yet to receive more than an auto-reply. I would really like to attend one of your town-hall meetings next Saturday so I could meet you in person but all of them are an hour and a half drive from where I live. I don’t have room in my day to make it. I hope that you’ll hold one closer to my end of the district sometime soon.
Waiting eagerly to hear back from you,