Meet Todd Rokita: Trump’s Nominee to Oversee Amtrak Who Voted Twice to Defund the Rail Service

Rokita is One of 10 Trump Picks Who Would Dismantle the Institution They Manage

WASHINGTON — Todd Rokita is the latest Trump nominee with a problematic track record of working to cut the very institution he would now be charged with overseeing. And he’s certainly not the only one. Restore Public Trust released a list today of ten Trump officials who have worked to dismantle the federal institution they were charged with leading.

“Instead of draining the swamp, Trump continues to nominate cronies who want to sabotage the very institutions the American people depend on for safe transportation, quality health care, clean water and more,” said Lizzy Price, spokesperson for Restore Public Trust. “Millions of people use Amtrak and Trump owes it to them to appoint a qualified nominee for the board, instead of Todd Rokita, who voted to sacrifice rail safety by cutting Amtrak severely. How are Americans supposed to trust their government officials to not do everything in their power to cripple these government institutions from the inside? Americans deserve public servants, not officials that will put the bottom line ahead of Americans’ health and safety.”

Here’s the Troubling Ten who made the list:

1. Todd Rokita: Amtrak Board Nominee (Present)

  • Todd Rokita voted twice to defund Amtrak while in Congress. Earlier this month, President Trump nominated him to the open position on the Amtrak board of directors.

2. Rick Perry: Secretary, Department of Energy (March 2017 to Present)

  • Rick Perry claimed he wanted to abolish the Energy Department along with the Commerce and Education Departments during a GOP presidential primary debate. Despite this, Perry has held the position of Energy Secretary since March 2017.

3. Andrew Wheeler: Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (July 2018 to Present)

  • Since he started in his role nearly two years ago, former coal lobbyist and head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Andrew Wheeler, has worked to roll back air and water pollution regulations, undermining the EPA’s core mission and purpose.

4. Linda McMahon: Administrator, Small Business Administration (February 2017 to March 2019)

  • A vocal advocate for merging the Small Business Administration (SBA) within the Commerce Department, Linda McMahon led the SBA for the first two years of the Trump administration. During her confirmation hearing, she even reaffirmed her stance on the issue.

5. Sonny Perdue: Secretary, Department of Agriculture (April 2017 to Present)

  • Less than a year after his confirmation, Sonny Perdue called for a 25% reduction to his own agency – a move that, if enacted, would significantly diminish the Agriculture Department’s capacity to serve people living in rural communities, where farmers are already suffering under the Trump administration policies.

6. Betsy DeVos: Secretary, Department of Education (February 2017 to Present)

  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended $18 million in cuts to her own department’s Special Olympics funding program.

7. Alex Azar: Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (January 2018 to Present)

  • The head of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar and the Trump administration proposed cutting HHS discretionary funding by 12%, with major cuts to important programs like Medicaid and the National Institutes of Health.

8. Alex Acosta: Secretary, Department of Labor (April 2017 to Present)

  • Alex Acosta defended Trump’s proposal to cut 9% from his own department’s budget, including a plan to target “less effective” job training programs.

9. Mike Pompeo: Secretary, Department of State (April 2018 to Present)

  • Not even a full year into his position, Mike Pompeo supported cutting his own department’s budget by 21%.

10. Elaine Chao: Secretary, Department of Transportation (January 2017 to Present)

  • Elaine Chao defended the Trump administration’s plan to cut discretionary Transportation Department spending by 12.7% in May, despite Republican disapproval of the proposed cuts.

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