Gov. Brian Sandoval went to Washington D.C. last week. He met with Nevada reporters upon his return, and that interview was helpfully transcribed by Independent reporter Michelle Rindels. I finally got around to reading the transcript. My main takeaway: Sandoval was just happy to be there:
“So the one thing I’ll tell you all is I’m very impressed the turnaround on things in terms of our requesting resources with the administration, with our funding that we have, I’ve gotten two approvals within a couple of weeks associated with these disaster declarations. This grant that you all saw through a release yesterday for over $5 million for opioid abuse, that was something that was done within our Department of Health and Human Services and associated with that.”
Is it impressive when an administration approves pro forma disaster declarations? Is it impressive when Health and Human Services announces $485 million in federal grants — as provided in a law passed by Congress under the previous administration — to combat the opioid epidemic, and Nevada gets $5 million of it? Aren’t these things the administrative equivalent of, oh, tying one’s shoes?
Well, since it is the Trump administration, execution of any routine task without turning it into a news-cycle devouring omnishambles is, if not impressive, at least a relief.
Besides, it isn’t just the Trump administration’s occasional capacity to perform mundane daily responsibilities that so “impressed” Sandoval:
“Anytime that I ask for a meeting with any member of the president’s cabinet, I get it. I get facetime with the actual cabinet members, not someone sublevel, so it’s been extremely positive in that regard…
It’s unprecedented for me to have facetime with four cabinet secretaries within 24 hours as well as representatives from the White House, so that’s a positive thing for our state.”
Facetime! With actual cabinet members!
One of those living breathing cabinet members was petroleum industry lobbyist Scott Pruitt, who is also the director of the EPA. Sandoval asked him A) not to force burdensome bonding regulations on Nevada’s mining industry because Nevada’s bonding requirements are already the best in the galaxy, and B) not to declare a mine near Yerington a Superfund site just because Nevada’s best bonding requirements in the galaxy somehow allowed the mine’s former operator to leave behind a mess with no money to clean it up.
Then Sandoval shared unprecedented facetime with actual cabinet member Rick Perry at Energy. Sandoval endorsed Perry for president in 2012. In return, Perry is now fighting hard to dump nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. But facetime!
Sandoval also met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a meeting in which Sandoval yet again solemnly assumed his sacred responsibility as the Nevada mining industry’s most faithful lobbyist. Or as Sandoval put it, “we spoke about the sage grouse.”
Then Sandoval met with Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who has no business being attorney general of the United States in this century or any other. In that meeting, Sandoval took off his mining industry lobbyist hat and put on his gambling industry lobbyist hat and said “internet gaming” a lot. Oh, and pot, because Sandoval is jonesing for some pot tax money but Sessions still hasn’t recovered from that time his grandfather took him to the movies, back when black people had to enter the theater from the alley and could only sit in the back on the sides, and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for once forgot how happy he was about that because he was getting emotionally and intellectually scarred for life by a re-release of the classic 1936 film Reefer Madness. So Sandoval had a pretty good meeting with Sessions.
Oh yeah. And Sandoval met with Trump. Well, was in the same room with him, anyway.
“I did ask for an individual meeting with the president, which was declined,” Sandoval said. Sniffle.