Trump Picks a Wedding Planner to Oversee Billions at HUD: Is There a Pattern Here?
Policy + Politics

Trump Picks a Wedding Planner to Oversee Billions at HUD: Is There a Pattern Here?

Yuri Gripas

An event planner and Trump family functionary who may have exaggerated her academic credentials will oversee billions in taxpayer dollars as an administrator for the Housing & Urban Development Department. But she is hardly the only White House appointee with little or no qualifications for the job she is getting.

The New York Daily News on Thursday reported the appointment of “longtime loyalist Lynne Patton — who has zero housing experience and claims a law degree the school says she never earned — to run the office that oversees federal housing programs in New York.”

Patton has arranged events at Trump golf courses and planned Eric Trump’s wedding, said the News, whose front page tagged her as the “Wedding Scammer. She also helped run Eric’s foundation, which has come under scrutiny because at least $100,000 in donations – and possibly much more -- to its charitable golf tournaments to benefit kids with cancer wound up going to the Trump Organization, according to Forbes.

Related: How Trump’s Cabinet Picks Are Payback to His Wealthy Pals

The Daily News also said that Patton’s LinkedIn page suggests she graduated from law school when she actually attended for only two semesters.

Patton will run HUD’s Region II office, which covers New York and New Jersey and is responsible for distributing billions of dollars to public housing authorities.

But there may be a pattern here:

  • HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Patton’s new boss, has zero experience in housing and urban development, too. He was a well-respected neurosurgeon who ran against Trump in the GOP primaries and then endorsed him after dropping out of the race.

  • In early May, Beth Van Duyne, mayor of Irving, Texas, was hired to run the HUD region that covers Texas and four other states. She has no experience with federal housing and is best known as a vocal opponent of government spending and illegal immigration, according to the Texas Tribune. She has also warned against the spread of Sharia law in America and has railed against sanctuary cities.

  • Education Secretary and Amway billionaire (by marriage) Betsy DeVos has zero experience in public education and lots of experience as an official of the Michigan Republican Party. She is not an educator, though she was the chairwoman of a nonprofit that advocated for school choice.

  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas and failed candidate for president, once called for the abolishment of the department he runs and conceded after he was appointed that he was surprised to learn what Energy actually does with its $30 billion budget, such as overseeing the country’s nuclear arsenal. Once he found out, he said he was wrong to say it should be dismantled.

  • Callista Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who in recent days has been suggesting that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is rigging his investigation of possible obstruction of justice by Trump, was nominated last month to be ambassador to the Vatican. While ambassadors in any administration are often political appointments, Mrs. Gingrich’s qualifications seem slim by any standard. She is a former congressional aide whose affair with Gingrich led him to divorce his first wife, though she does sing in the choir of Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.