Arizona Ex-Politicians Kyl, Brewer, and Arpaio Are on Trump's Short List for Cabinet Picks

Arizona could be well-represented in President Trump's cabinet, judging by lists of the various contenders for high-ranking jobs released over the weekend.

You thought you'd heard the last of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio since he got whupped by Paul Penzone in last week's election?

Just imagine Arpaio — under a federal contempt charge for failing to obey a court order to stop his agency from discriminating against Latinos — in charge of the nation's entire immigration enforcement.

President-elect Donald Trump has Arpaio on the short list for U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, a job once held by the Republican sheriff's former ally, ex-Arizona Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano. Arpaio's competing with immigration-hardliner Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and others for the job. (Trump is considering Sessions and Giuliani for other jobs, as well.)

Trump's picks for Interior Secretary are packed with climate-change deniers — including former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

"Everybody has an opinion on it, you know, and I probably don’t believe that it’s man-made," Brewer told a Channel 3 (KTVK-TV) reporter in 2012. "I believe that, you know, that weather and certain elements are controlled maybe by different things."

Just the kind of science-based answer you'd expect from someone who might lead the country's energy policies, right?

After Brewer gave the answer to the surprise question by reporter Dennis Welch, she punched him off-camera and scolded him, saying, "Where in the hell did that [question] come from?"

Brewer's one of two women on the Interior chief list: The other is former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who — like Trump — has said publicly that climate change is a hoax.

Former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, who retired in 2013, rounds out the Arizona contingent of possible Trump appointees. Kyl, along with Sessions, former Bush advisor Stephen Hadley, and others, is being considered for Defense Secretary.

Kyl's a strong conservative and pro-military; he predicted that the United States faced the possibility of a severe terrorist attack two years before the attacks on September 11, 2001.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern