In the past few weeks, Donald Trump has made an art out of picking people to populate his administration and matching them up with jobs that they are almost transcendently unsuited to execute.
The Trump transition team has nominated a man who doesn't believe in climate change to head the EPA, a woman who doesn't believe in public education to head the Department of Education, an Energy Secretary who once tried to promise to abolish the Department of Energy but forgot the name of the Department of Energy, and he is putting Ben Carson in charge of HUD. These choices are high art, there is no questioning that. However today...you guys, today, Donald Trump has painted his masterpiece:
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is expected to be named special adviser to the president on overhauling federal regulations, according to people familiar with the matter.
Choosing Carl Icahn to advise you on regulation is like selecting Lindsay Lohan as your sobriety coach; You've already made up your mind.
But it also appears that while Trump has looked like the Vincent van Gogh of cabinet creation, Uncle Carl has been his secret Theo.
Mr. Icahn, who has spent the past four decades battling big companies as an activist investor, already has been wielding influence in President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. He is playing a central role in selecting the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the people said. Interested candidates have reached out to him, and he is interviewing others at the request of Mr. Trump, the people said.
The 80-year-old has played a similar role in identifying Mr. Trump’s choices for other important posts. Mr. Icahn, who controls an oil refiner and has spent months berating the Environmental Protection Agency over a rule he says hurts the industry, helped Mr. Trump vet candidates to run the EPA.
He weighed in enthusiastically as Mr. Trump considered whether to nominate Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross to run the Treasury and Commerce departments, respectively. Both men were picked for the jobs.
After months and months of proclaiming that he would not be involved in a Trump cabinet, Icahn is now constructing it. And he's apparently not done what with jobs still open at the top o the SEC and two seats on the CFTC.
We look forward to hearing more about the shortlist that obviously already includes Steve Cohen, Anthony Scaramucci, Leon Cooperman, Peter Thiel and Michael Milken.
That sound you hear is Bill Ackman weeping.